posted on Aug, 29 2006 @ 04:56 PM
1. City urban transit is at best, limited to very high density cities, like W-DC, NYC, and maybe a couple other cities I’m not familiar with.
In all other locales, it must be subsidized. That means taxpayers, step up please.
2. Inter-urban trains, which were popular in some areas in the mid-20s to the late-30s, might be one way to alleviate the Eastern corridor
perpetual traffic jam. Until the 1990s, some of the tracks between Louisville and Indianapolis were still in the ground. A very cushy electric street
car made the trip in about 2 hours. 110 miles. It stopped anywhere you wanted off and picked up at designated points. It cost $2 when the local street
car cost a nickel. It was far superior to Greyhound and faster than the railroads. It beat cars all to pieces. But, as car ownership went up,
ridership went down. It’s now to be found only in the history books.
3. Great trains. Once upon a time America had a dozen or more great trains; trains equal to the fabled Orient Express in luxury and equal to
the Brit’s Flying Scotsman in speed. The NY Central's 20th Century Limited. The Southern Pacific's Sunset Limited. The L&N's Hummingbird. The
last such train was The Crescent, running overnight from Montgomery to NO via the Southern RR. I have traveled on the City of San Francisco of the
Union Pacific RR when it was a luxury, extra cost train. But alas, the airlines killed the trains. And the two major bus lines, too, Greyhound and
its junior competitor, Trailways, except for the very poor and the otherwise dispossessed.
4. Airlines. Almost anybody who is employed can afford to take a plane to almost anywhere in the US almost anytime. Is it any wonder this is
the travel means of choice for any long distance journey and any other when time is of the essence?
5. Buses. Greyhound still runs inter-city passenger service. I recently checked on the Jax to Atlanta run, and it took 8 hours and cost $57 one
way. Instead, I paid $130 one way for a US Air via Charlotte which took me 3 hours.
6. Private conveyance. Transport lingo for your own car. Or, in 2006, your own SUV. Pres. Eisenhower took 30 days to traverse the US when he
was an Army captain in the 1920s as part of a study for the Army how long it would take to move soldiers in the east to ports along the West Coast.
His group recommended many of the features later found in the National Defense Highway System Act of 1956. See Note 1.
7. My proposal. The AEHS - American Enterprise Highway System. This system would be built in 2 segments. The Eastern and a Western segment. The
segments would not be connected but would be closest at the St. Louis to Indianapolis spacinmg.
The Eastern segment would be shaped like the letter “Y” with Chicago at the upper left arm, NYC at the upper right arm, Atlanta at the
junction and Miami at the lower leg.
The Western segment would be shaped like a chicken’s wishbone laid on its side. The apex at St. Louis, the upper arm ending at Seattle and
the lower arm ending at San Diego.
The AEHS system would be constructed in new, 400 foot rights of way, with 4 lanes in each direction, each lane 15 feet in width. Heavily
constructed roadways would support triple bottom trucks of 140,000 pounds gross weight and speed limits of 150 km per hour (90 mph) would be allowed.
The AEHS would be a toll road with 24 or 48 hour passes sold using bar coded stickers fixed on the sides of vehicles, with unlimited on and off
allowed. The cost would be a flat $10 per day, per axle.
To keep down costs, there would be only one interchange for each major city. And no AEHS road would come closer than 25 miles in the east, or
50 miles in the west, to a major city. For example, from Chicago south would have interchanges near Indianapolis, Louisville, Nashville, Chattanooga,
Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami. Nine interchanges. 25 miles away from the major city.
I predict 80% of over-the-road truckers would use the AEHS system which would make the old interstate system seem like a dream come true both
to users and taxpayers!
This represents a sure way of reducing our dependence on foreign oil!
Note 1. The Federal government needed constitutional authority to build the interstate highway system. It paid 90% of the cost, the states 10%
and the Feds got to make the rules and pick the markers and the colors. The earlier US highway system had been based on the postal roads theory as
implied in the Constitution. The interstate highway system was technically built to carry heavy tanks and army trucks so it would meet the
Constitution’s “provide for the common defense” mandate.
[edit on 8/29/2006 by donwhite]