Monday, May 31, 2010

My Response To An I-69 Supporter

After my recent Courier & Press article calling for Indiana to "Scrap I-69," and build high speed rail instead, there was a response written to the C & P from a Mr. Steve Schaefer from "Hoosier Voices for I-69." The article DID NOT say I-69 should be built over high speed rail because it's 1. cheaper 2. faster 3. safer 4. a more reliable form of transportation, or 5. a better form of transportation for the future. Why? Because he simply cannot. The following is a rebuttal article I have sent to the C & P in order to keep the record straight that high speed rail is indeed the proper system to implement...

In an attempt to allow space for everyone to get their opinion heard, I usually don’t write rebuttals. However, I felt compelled to answer Steve Schaefer’s article that was in response to my article about scrapping I-69 because I feel that Mr. Schaefer has a complete lack of knowledge about the benefits of replacing I-69 with high speed rail.

Mr. Schaefer did a great job dodging the facts that high speed rail will not need to destroy massive amounts of farmland to be built, it will not rely on the oil industry for transportation, and it will cost much less than I-69.
Mr. Schaefer further displays his lack of knowledge about high speed rail by stating “The likelihood of stations at every community along the route would defeat the overall purpose of a more efficient transportation system and would not provide the direct access for the flow of traffic and commerce.” High Speed rail will have side tracks called spurs that will divert local traffic away from express traffic. Even if there was just one track, high speed rail travels at speeds of 220-375 mph meaning that you could stop at every important town between here and Indianapolis and still beat an auto. Furthermore, INDOT has already taken out several exits along I-69 in order to cut costs which will further devalue this road.
Another problem I have with Schaefer’s article is his comment that “It is estimated that over 47,000 new jobs are created for every $1 billion invested in transportation infrastructure. That alone should convince any opponent that this highway is about job creation and should be a priority during these strained economic times.” Does Mr. Schaefer not realize that high speed rail is infrastructure too? Does he not realize that I-69 will only create 4,600 permanent jobs? In contrast, Ohio’s high speed rail is projected to create 11,000 permanent jobs ($6-$9 billion private investment) and California’s is expected to create nearly 450,000! Also, which would you rather Evansville be: A huge truck stop or a crossroads of America rail center?

Lastly, Mr. Schaefer said that my article was “A slap in the face,” to I-69 supporters. Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of taking road trips and having my car lock up when a train would alleviate that problem. I’m tired of dealing with the BMV and insurance companies, and I’m sick of seeing crosses on the side of the road because the auto claims over 40,000 people a year. High speed rail erases all of these problems which are why it is the future. Google Personal Rapid Transit, the Interstate Traveler Project, and Maglev Rail and you will see how superior rail technology is.

I encourage everyone to write to this paper and your elected officials to demand high speed rail.

The fact is... We are at a crucial point in Evansville's history where we can either A. Catch- Up to the rest of the U.S or B. Remain 40-50 years behind the rest of the U.S. I hope you will take some time out of your busy schedule to write to your legislators and write to the Courier and Press to tell them... Enough is Enough! Evansville needs a cutting edge form of transportation just like the rest of the U.S is scheduled to receive. It is time to scrap the outmoded I-69 project and build high speed rail where we can ship goods faster, create more jobs, eliminate the crosses on the roads, reduce global emissions, and save a few pennies all at the same time.

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