Friday, January 23, 2009

High-Speed Awesome

City Councilman Shea Flinn has a Smart City vision for Memphis 2009 and beyond:
We need to change (that damn word again) how we interact with the rest of the state and region. To this end, I would propose that our federal delegation get in the on the bailout package and try to get some high speed rail for our region. A few billion (remember when that used to be big money, now it seems like small change) would allow us to connect not only our city to Nashville in a greater way, but also with Jackson, MS, and Little Rock, AR, as well as providing the requisite short term jolt to our local economy.
This is a 2005 U.S. Department of Transportation map of possible high speed rail corridors.

See the gray hole in the right middle, between St. Louis, Jackson (MS) and Little Rock? That gray hole is Memphis. Not even a possibility.

Councilman Flinn's idea could change (that beautiful word again) that.

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Blogger Randal Cooper said...

Absolutely. A high-speed rail corridor following the existing City of New Orleans lines (not using the rails, which are probably unfit for high speed applications) from New Orleans to Chicago would be ideal.

Also, every map I've seen of proposed rail lines lists Meridian prominently, to which I issue a hearty WTF? Someone in that sleepy little burg of 40,000 has some dirt on someone with pull.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous sherman said...

Here, Here! Now that is leadership & vision.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Joseph A said...

I agree completely. How is it that Little Rock, Mobile, and Tulsa get to be actual termini, while Memphis is completely absent from the map? I support the Obama administration and think the stimulus package was necessary, but one begins to wonder who politically influences where these things go.

Connecting Memphis with Nashville would make perfect sense. Then, building lines over to Little Rock and St. Louis where they could connected with others, might make sense as well. After that could follow Birmingham, Chattanooga up to Knoxville and DC, possibly Kansas City (all of which used to be served by passenger trains from Memphis), etc.

The one thing I worry about with high-speed rail, however, is the impact it may have on the areas it passes through. As of now, rails visually and physically connect places, and many train rides, such as the Crescent (much of which is a proposed corridor) are gorgeous. One would hope we could learn from the mistakes of modern highway construction and not allow these high-speed corridors to similarly fragment our cities and towns.

11:36 PM  

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