Monday, March 21, 2011

Poor, little Rhode Island. About to be run over by a moving high-speed train!

And now, for the lighter side of the news. 

If the high-speed train crosses Rhode Island, just as the locomotive in front leaves the state, the rear locomotive will not yet have reached the RI border on the entry side. (There's usually a locomotive at each end of these HSR trains so they don't have to be turned around.)

Needless to say, RI may or may not have a HSR stop with any new NEC high-speed rail development. For the fast, non-stop trains, RI will be fly-over country; but, not to worry; it won't take that long.

This article is really not about high-speed rail at all.  It's about the money.  That word -- MONEY -- is used six times in this very short article.  Isn't that what we've been saying?  It's not about the train, it's about the money. BTW, the words -- FUNDS, and FUNDING -- are used three times.

Please note that although the state, with its two Democratic Senators, is already reaching for those dollars, they say they are conducting a study to see if they actually need it, ""The state is currently examining potential projects. . . to evaluate the potential benefits of a regional approach.”  Ready. . .Shoot. . .Aim. I have no doubt that if they discover that they don't need it, they will cancel their request.

The fun just never stops, does it?

Rhode Island to apply for rejected Florida rail money
By Keith Laing - 03/18/11 05:18 PM ET

Rhode Island will submit an application for $2.4 billion in high-speed rail money that was rejected by Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R).

Scott's counterpart in Rhode Island, former Sen. Lincoln Chafee (I), has no qualms about accepting the federal money, the Providence Journal said in a Friday report

“The state is encouraged by this funding opportunity," a spokeswoman for Chafee told the paper. "The state is currently examining potential projects and will be working closely with its New England partners to evaluate the potential benefits of a regional approach.”

Current Rhode Island Sens. Jack Reed (D) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D) have already written to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood expressing interest in the money. The Department of Transportation recently reversed a previous decision and designated the North a "federal rail corridor," making it easier for transportation funds to be directed there. 

Ten senators from Northeastern states have come out publicly in favor of receiving the money. 

Earlier Friday, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) said cities in his state would not be able to partner together to accept the money without Scott’s approval because a deal could not be worked out with Amtrak quickly enough. Following Scott's rejection, LaHood said cities could apply for the money directly, but only if they partnered with an existing transportation authority. 

Applications for the funding are due April 4.