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January 14th, 2011
Profiles from the Recession
[VIDEO] Off the Rails

Sometimes responsibility is in the eye of the beholder. For example, what is the best way to invest in the nation’s infrastructure? In the state of Wisconsin, the governor declined $810 million worth of federal stimulus money for a high speed rail initiative because he says the state couldn’t afford to maintain the system and that money should be spent on roads, not rail.

However, in Illinois, the governor sees his responsibility differently. A look at the future of passenger rail.

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Producer Peter Meryash, Correspondent Rick Karr, Researcher Alexis Pancrazi and Editor David Kreger for Blueprint America

  • Jonathan

    Are any of the people who are against high speed rail in this country concerned with the fact that almost all wealthy countries in the world have some form of high speed rail and even some of the developing countries. China for instance, for all it’s progress, I think but not sure is still considered a developing country has high speed rail.

    America has fallen way behind in Transportation Infrastructure, when a country like Spain has the most modern and advanced Transportation Infrastructure in the world. Spain and other countries use to admire our Infrastructure. And further more we have to start trying to put a dent in our dependence on Fossil Fuels, which our cars are a major contributor of Co2, and lessen our dependence on gas and oil from other parts of the world.

    And I know part of the argument people use is money and I heard one person say that density in most of these regions in America that plan to have high speed don’t have the density. I am not an accountant and I’m not a politician (THANK GOD) I’m just kidding. But seriously I think it will pay for it self and density could possible be taken care of by maybe(TOD’s) Transit Oriented Developments.

    I think a lot of the discord is political, which is sad, because most of the people against it are conservatives.

  • Robert R. Johnson

    There is a technical alternative to high speed rail that could be faster and much cheaper to build, operate, and maintain. I call it Pneumatic People Transport; it is a modern version of the old department store air tube system for depositing cash. Costco uses one today. The technique for people transport uses air cushion support and thus has no high friction bearings or heavy loads. The people pods are esssentially preinflated air bags inside a porous cylindrical skin.

    Much of the early material you used in the Detroit program of BluePrint America originated with Prof. Dan Pitera of UD Mercy. Dan is my son-in-law. I am Prof. Emeritus, Computer Science, Univ. of Utah and former VP Engineering for Burroughs in Detroit under Ray Macdonald. The engineering transition from adding machines to computers at Burroughs was my responsibility there for Ray.

    Is there any interest there in learning at least one technical alternative that could be available to really blue-print America with a practical high speed transport system?

    Bob Johnson

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