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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Greens support riding the Rails

Today the Green Party of Canada called for a major upgrade in Canada's rail system including dedicated tracking to accommodate both freight and passengers, a return to full national rail service and high speed rail links on main traffic corridors.

The Greens have once again shown they actually have a clue what is going and in the world and how to prepare for the challenging times ahead. Global warming, pollution, road congestion, and peak oil are all important issues to which a plan like this speaks.

Peak oil is going to make trucking, personal driving and the maintenance of asphalt roads prohibitively expensive in perhaps as little as a decade. As the status quo becomes too expensive railroads will become a far more efficient way to ship goods and people.

Pollution and green house gases will both be reduced by building a good rail system and even more so if the high speed links are made with electric trains instead of using diesel electric locomotives.

The new roads needed to absorb today's traffic are expensive to build and most likely an exercise in futility. Vehicle ownership numbers are destined to drop as peak oil pushes less affluent drivers off the roads in the coming years. The move is already on as transit rider ship is grows even at today’s prices. Once we hit European fuel prices car ownership will fall.

Today's rampant building of more infrastructure for the car culture will be seen as a monumental waste of resources in hindsight.

A strong rail infrastructure is a necessity for any nation that wishes to flourish in an age of diminishing hydrocarbon fuels. Today however, North America is so far behind Europe it’s laughable.

In the same vain as today’s announcement I would also suggest:

Government investment in a company called Railpower technologies, a Canadian company building hybrid locomotives for rail yard work.

That Rail companies no longer be allowed to abandon track.

Abandoned track right of ways must be preserved for future us.

All Rail station properties must be maintained.

All new regional plans leave corridors open for future rail expansion.Recommend this Post

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