Arcuri likened it to the economic boon provided by the Erie Canal.It's really about trying to buy public support with empty words that have no facts to substantiate them.
“It’s about smart business, it’s about reliability and it’s about transportation,” Arcuri said.
While Mr. Arcuri should be applauded for fighting for this area's piece of the national High Speed Rail Pie, let's not kid ourselves. This will be no Erie Canal.
The Erie Canal created an economic boom because it delivered (1) significantly faster transportation at (2) significantly less cost than other modes existing at the time. In fact, in terms of miles traveled per gallon of fuel required, the canal is still the cheapest mode of transportation even after 175 years! That was a pretty amazing breakthrough.
Here there is no breakthrough. The speed increase is insignificant compared with Thruway travel when portal to portal travel time is considered. In fact, unless someone lives across the street from the train stop, travel time may be longer.
No one is even attempting to claim that this mode of transportation will be cheaper than alternatives. Considering the cost of conventional train tickets compared with bus tickets, chances are it will be considerably more expensive.
So against the currently available alternatives, high-speed rail really is no alternative...unless high-speed rail is being compared against future alternatives.
Perhaps Mr. Arcuri and his congressional cohorts are preparing us for a future where gas will be $20/gallon. Then, perhaps, High Speed Rail would be viable.
If that is the future that Congress is preparing us for . . . perhaps we should keep that in mind come November 2010.