The Organic Intellectual

If our greatest task is to liberate humanity, as Paulo Freire asserts, then it is absolutely essential that we create a culture of resistance from below that is able not only to counter, but transcend the limitations of the ruling culture imposed by above. Hopefully, The Organic Intellectual will help serve this purpose.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

High-speed Rail On It's Way to Ohio?

So, folks, here it is. Long past due, of course, but for the first time there is serious talk about implementing a high-speed passenger railway system throughout Ohio and the Midwest. Given the horrendous state of public transportation opportunities for Ohio residents, and anyone from Toledo can surely back these sentiments, this plan has a host of potential benefits for the region and for us.

For the full list of benefits regarding high-speed rail to the Midwest, check this out. Here's a summary:

- Can transport people nearly as fast as a plane at a much lower price.
- Less air pollution, less smog.
- Productive alternative to cars, as you can do essentially whatever you want while you travel (read, work, etc.)
- Estimated to provide $1.3 billion in highway congestion relief and $700 million in airport congestion relief.
- Reduces reliance on private, individualized forms of transportation that are deadly to our environment and costly both personally and for road maintenance.
- Jobs, a couple thousand long term jobs and nearly fifteen thousand construction jobs, dire at a time when working class people are feeling the heat from the economic collapse.

This is perhaps the most intense pursuit of public transportation we've seen in the Midwest region. I see no reason why progressives should NOT support this plan.

And, for those of you voting in the Toledo mayoral elections here in a few weeks, check this statement by candidate Keith Wilkowski:
Toledo should pursue intermodal transportation systems for people by developing high speed passenger rail in connection with the Obama Administration’s commitment to a Chicago to Pittsburgh high speed rail line. Toledo is strategically positioned to convert our downtown railroad station into a regional multi-modal hub for passenger cars, buses, and high speed trains. Even beyond that, with high speed rail on the horizon, Toledo should aggressively pursue the engineering, design and manufacturing jobs that will be created by America’s new investment in high speed rail.
Let's have no illusions, whoever gets into office may be pressured into pursuing some sort of high-speed rail, the question is, however, under what conditions will it function? How will it be run? Will it be private or public? What are the assurances that once it is built, using federal stimulus money, that it won't simply be handed over to a private corporation to jack up the prices in order to extract as much profit as possible? What will the conditions of the potentially 2,000 permanent workers be like? These are all questions that need to be raised, however, we have to be PART of the dialogue in order to raise them.


I'll end with this, it's a e-mail forwarded to me with a link to a survey by the Ohio Department of Transportation. Worth taking a minute to fill out. Tell them we want high-speed PUBLIC transportation!

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As Ohio's economy continues to sag and energy prices remain high, our state needs a statewide passenger rail system more than ever!

Ohio is applying for passenger rail stimulus dollars to connect Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Cleveland via passenger rail by 2011. The state would then work to increase speed and frequency of service while also extending service to other cities throughout Ohio.

Help Ohio get on track with passenger rail! The Ohio Department of Transportation is currently collecting public input to inform their planning efforts and the stimulus application. Click here to access the survey.
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