Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Hole in the HSR Plan

This morning, President Obama gave a press conference about his plan for a national high-speed rail system, and his plan has a big glaring hole in the middle of it. That hole is Tennessee and Kentucky. My fellow Nashvillians (not pronounced nash-villins) and I are smack-dab in the middle of that hole. If that hole were a Donut, Nashville wouldn't even get any of the icing drippings.

This makes me wonder who is to blame for being overlooked, and the blame seems to fall most appropriately on our local representatives for not pushing for more rail attention here in middle Tennessee. Or is the fault ours, the constituents? Most people in this area seem to regard rail travel as a nice idea, but not worth giving priority when it comes to time in legislature or other infrastructure needs.

So what does this mean for Nashville? Well, if Obama is successful in assigning a national HSR system to his presidential legacy, then rail travel will once again become a major form of transportation in this country. US residents will consider train travel as a legitimate option when it comes to travel (especially as people are moving back into cities) and foreign visitors will increasingly use rail transportation when visiting the US, choosing to exclusively visit cities accessible by train (much like we do in other countries). So I ask again, what does this mean for Nashville? It means being left behind. It means Nashville loses stature in the realm of world-class cities. It means that maybe Nashville isn't as important as we think it is.

Anyone need to go to Lebanon (TN)? We can take a train there....

Portland is sounding better and better all the time... (Portland Oregon, not Portland TN)

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