Those Barrington residents don’t really know how bad it is

Yesterday, we saw how a lack of awareness led the residents of the suburban town of Barrington, Illlinois to protest an increase in freight traffic through their town.

Today, railway executive Matthew Rose told fellow industry leaders, that the future of the rail network is bleak, unless action is taken.

Maybe now Barrington will reconsider? Probably not. After all, can’t it be in someone else’s backyard?

Here’s a few grim snippets from the article.

by 2035, traffic jams could be so severe trains would grind to a halt for days with nowhere to go.

Congestion around the country has remained chronic, even as the ailing economy has led to a 3 percent dip in freight train traffic in the first few months of this year compared with last year. And a new U.S. Chamber of Commerce report warns demand for freight trains is expected to double over the next 25 years.

The Chamber says expanding capacity on the more than 150-year-old U.S. rail system would cost $148 billion over 30 years. Private rail companies would have to pay most of it, with federal and state tax dollars covering much of the rest.

Expanding capacity here will cost $1.5 billion over six years, a coalition of officials and rail executives estimates. David Burns, an independent railroad engineering consultant based in the Chicago area, put the cost closer to $4 billion.

With rail being proposed as a future alternative to trucking, it appears that the status quo is going to have a difficult time being extended into the medium and long-term. Even so, the sacrifices that suburban residents are unwilling to make and the costs that the government is unwilling to incur is inexcusable. $150 billion over 30 years and $4 billion over six years? This is chump change compared to the 2009 Federal Budget of $3.10 trillion. It is unbelievable that basic vital infrastructure can be neglected when we see a lack of infrastructure as the cause of serious crises in this country and others.

Write your congressmen and continue to inform your friends and family. Public support needs to be behind this.

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