lpetrich wrote:It is very welcome that some states are intent on making progress toward high-speed rail. However, such progress depends a lot on states' political whims, which will make progress spotty. And such spottiness is what we are seeing here; North Carolina is leading the way and dragging Virginia along, while South Carolina and Georgia continue to be slowpokes.
And even with improved service, the "we want one too" factor may not necessarily be very effective. It hasn't been very effective in the starting of urban-rail systems:
San Francisco and San Jose / South Bay have light-rail systems; Oakland / East Bay still doesn't
Much of the SF Bay Area has the Caltrain, Altamont Commuter Express, and Capitol Corridor commuter trains, but Marin and Sonoma Counties still doesn't have one
Los Angeles and San Diego have light-rail systems; Orange County still doesn't
Portland has a light-rail system; Seattle is building one
Dallas has a light-rail and a commuter-rail system; Houston recently built one, Austin is building one, Ft. Worth doesn't have a light-rail system, and San Antonio has neither
St. Louis has a light-rail system but Kansas City is gradually approaching starting to build one
Cleveland has rail-transit systems, but Columbus and Cincinnati don't
Regardless of what kind it is (i.e., HSR, light rail, or commuter rail), in order for a new rail service to succeed, it has to provide a benefit to consumers.
In the case of HSR, this means that it'll only do well if it's both faster and
more convenient than car travel.
For light rail and commuter rail, this means that each line has to have a lot of stations on it so that most of a metro area's residential and commercial sections are within a short walk to a station. Obviously, this is difficult to accomplish in cities that are spread out over a wide area, which is why light rail and commuter rail often don't catch on in such cities.