We are puzzled. America speaks of the desire to rid themselves of dependency on foreign oil (although we have seen much less speak of that since the price was cut to 1/3 of what it was).
People speak to their pocketbooks. We understand that, but we have another question for those of you more intelligent than we.
What happened to the promotion of mass transit? There has been technology to transport many of us, cost effectively and cleanly, from one location to another much faster than we currently can by automobile for years, but somehow we all ignore it. Japan embraced it and it has been a huge success.
There are trains, using proven available technology, that transport people safely and enviro-friendly at 200 miles per hour in Japan. Trains operate effortlessly and they do not tire. A train can travel, on electricity or diesel, for thousands of miles without stopping. The high speed trains are electric and transport people for a fraction of the cost of an automobile.
As soon as you mathematically think about this, how long, at 200 miles per hour could we cover the entire continent of America? 15 hours. Think about that. 15 hours. We have had connecting flights that have taken that long to get us from Boston to California.
Trains also have the advantage of space and luxury an airplane cannot provide. You can sleep in a horizontal position (for an extra fee admittedly, but still way cheaper than first class flights). You can avoid often distant and difficult travel to the airport. And you can find a way to travel short distances much faster than any air travel can allow, because the restrictions and wait times are much smaller. Time spent in an airport to make a flight from Boston to New York only makes it minimally advantageous over a slow train, let alone a high speed train which could get someone from Boston to New York faster than it takes to board the plane at Logan.
Let’s ask a simple question. If a job could pay you double what you earn now, but you had to spend a few dollars, or maybe nothing if America was intelligent, to get to New York from Boston in an hour versus four to five, would you grab the opportunity? What if you didn’t have a job at all, but could get one in New York? Think of the change in our lifestyles if you could commute to any major US hub within a 200 mile proximity in an hour. Want to go to a show in New York from Boston? Decide now, and be there within 2 hours including the time to shower and dress. Want to live in the suburbs and commute in minutes?
We have the technology. We have for years. Our eyes have been averted from what is important…our future. It is all so easy, and yet, we continually ignore it while we take on mass projects using unproven technology like the Big Dig in Boston which was a disaster of price overruns to the tune of five times its original estimated cost.
Instead of landing on Mars or planning more trips to the moon, get us from Sacramento to San Jose in less than an hour affordably and cleanly while we surf the internet.
We didn’t witness a single Presidential candidate suggest the idea, and yet, it is better than any idea we have seen presented to bring America into the 21st century safely and cleanly. Obama is a source of ideas; we think he should embrace it.