Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What's the Chinese Character for Kill the Train?

Chinese Academy of Sciences: High-Speed Rail Construction Unsustainable – Business Topics |
The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) reported to the State Council recently, urging the large-scale high-speed railway construction projects in China to be re-evaluated. The CAS worries that China may not be able to afford such a large-scale construction of high-speed rail, and such a large scale high-speed rail network may not be practical.
High-speed rail train runs at over 250 km per hour, about twice the normal speed of a regular train. Under the current plan, the central government has approved to build, by 2020, 16,000 km of high speed rail providing access to about 90% of the Chinese population. Some local media have reported recently that the recently enabled Wuhan - Guangzhou high-speed rail is currently running an average daily attendance of less than half capacity, while the newly opened Shanghai-Hangzhou high-speed rail attendance is even lower.
Do you think Chinese citizens will hold a candle light vigil?

Seriously, if passenger rail isn't the answer in a country like China, how well will it work in a society centered on the automobile?  I'm skeptical of the economics of passenger rail and I think Scott Walker is right to end the project here in Wisconsin.

If you think government spending is needed as stimulus, I'm sure we could come up with a quicker and easier way to spend $800 million.

If you think the problem is greenhouse gas emissions, then let's talk about tougher fuel efficiency standards.

An HSR line between Milwaukee and Madison strikes me as little more than a solution in search of a problem.


Cindy Kilkenny said...

You write the smartest blog around.

(Just thought I'd let you know.)

Jeremy R. Shown said...

You're too kind. Thanks!!

Heather said...

Cannot agree more, passenger rain isn't going to be succesful here. People are not going to start using rail instead of cars, and $800 million is way too much for such an "experiment".