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Transit experts gather in Raleigh, talk rail benefits

Posted September 14, 2011

— Railroad advocates and transportation policy experts talked about the benefits of rail systems, during the third annual Progress in Motion forum at the Raleigh Convention Center Wednesday.

They discussed a planned high-speed rail line that will eventually connect Charlotte to Washington, D.C., and presented best practices for freight, passenger and commuter lines. Planning for a commuter rail in the Triangle was also on the agenda, with elected officials, local chambers of commerce, municipal planners and transit representatives weighing in.

Experts said a high-speed rail line in North Carolina would be very different from the trains that connect hundreds of cities around Europe, where trains approach speeds of 200 mph. North Carolina's are expected to average up to 87 mph.

In Europe, a separate rail line is devoted to high-speed rail. In the United States, lines are being updated and will be shared with existing trains. 

Traveling by train in the U.S. steadily increased in popularity over the last decade due to traffic and congestion, environmental concerns and rising gas prices.

Railroad Rail versus road debate comes to Raleigh

"I've been taking the train a lot lately, (and I) love it," said Republican State Senator Jim Forrester, who serves on the state's transportation committee. "I wish more people would use it."

Forrester, a supporter of the rail system, said he'd like to see more funding for rails, but money is limited.

"We've got a lot of infrastructure problems with bridges and roads. That's the key right now, and we probably need to do that first," he said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • fishon Sep 15, 2011

    I love the BART in San Francisco, and the MARTA in Atlanta..you can go anywhere you want for a fraction of the gas cost to get there..
    Big Mike

    I have used MARTA and like it also but based on some quick internet searches I don't think either of these systems pay for themselves.

  • Krimson Sep 15, 2011

    Doesn't AMTRAK already run this route??? Didn't they just announce they were cutting back because of lack of riders??? Sure a nice new shiny train is pretty cool, but why not spend the money on some of the failing infrastructure OB just talked about at NCSU???

  • didisaythat Sep 15, 2011

    If the rail was self supporting I am all for it.

  • corgimom06 Sep 15, 2011

    I would love a train that would connect Raleigh/Chapel Hill/Durham and RTP. If it got me off I40, out of traffic I'm all for it.

  • dmccall Sep 15, 2011

    ncpilot2, you may want to READ the article. It is about connecting cities with rail, not Triangle-area light rail. That's a different debate.

  • dmccall Sep 15, 2011

    The "high speed rail" line planned will average more like 65mph.

  • workingforthosethatwont Sep 14, 2011

    experts who want to sell us something. just think, if there were no transit systems there would be no experts!

  • Big Mike Sep 14, 2011

    Give it up around here...too many negative people!

    I love the BART in San Francisco, and the MARTA in Atlanta..you can go anywhere you want for a fraction of the gas cost to get there..

  • ncpilot2 Sep 14, 2011

    The term "experts" gets thrown around more than a bowl of Cherios by a six-month-old baby. A little investigation would probably reveal that these so-called "experts" have something to gain, or already have, by supporting this rail issue.

    The fact is that if the train will not stop at RDU (which the airport doesn't want in fear of losing parking revenue) then it will NOT be self-supporting. That means we don't have the money. Period.

    Stop wasting OUR taxpayer money on "experts" and repair the roads with the money you make off of the gas taxes WE pay when we drive.

  • Rebelyell55 Sep 14, 2011

    LOL, an expert is anyone who live at least 50 miles away, or have they up that to 100 mile in the past few years. I'm always wonder how much the "other" are paying him.