Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Light Rail #1 Issue Backed On Obama Citizen Suggestion Site

People want light rail and are telling the Obama administration that in large numbers.


J. M. Lee said...

I'm not really sure how my post got to #1, but it's really great that it did!

Hopefully, the post will stay at #1, and maybe I'll get to talk to Transition members further about this very important idea.

Jim Bouman said...

And, what will you tell the transition members, now that you have ascended to #1 on the comment stage?
Do you have something to say about the light rail issue?

J. M. Lee said...

I think that the real key here is that the transportation funding sources suggested in the stimulus package need to be '21st century-ready' projects, and not just shovel-ready projects. Road repairs and bridge fixes are needed, yes, but also a change in how we move around our home city and region is needed. Many forces have been working on this system for years like Midwest High Speed Rail, Milwaukee and Madison Light Rail, the KRM, and Metra expansion as you know.

I think that a great idea is to place rail lines down the middle of highways instead of expanding lanes. For example, the I-94 expansion to take place from Milwaukee to the Illinois line - an expansion to eight lanes. What if lanes were added to the outside of the highways, and removed from the middle. Then, high speed rail was placed down that middle stretch of road. Commuters would see the faster form of transportation, and gravitate toward using it.

Light rail has been a boon for cities like Portland and Charlotte. It should be expanded to other cities as well (Milwaukee). There are many positive economic and environmental aspects to this kind of development. Usually sales tax system have been used to finance it.

But, besides ideas, I think I probably need more ammo on both high speed and light rail topics. What do you think?