Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Failing To Build Is Building To Fail

We in America are poised, again, to fail.

The opportunity is rearing its head and I wonder if we can jump at the chance to show our collective stupidity, again. The current rage in Washington, if not in parts of the rest of the country, is the stimulus money designated for High Speed Rail(HSR). $ 8 Billion for HSR and that is promised to be the starting level. Even more stimulus money is planned for rebuilding our other rail facilities. Yet nobody is talking about revamping our automobile industry to include the HSR vehicles. And somebody else is watching.

German engineering giant Siemens and their national railway operator Deutsche Bahn, already well ahead of America's companies, are hungrily watching to see how much they can profit from our stimulus package. Will our tax money pay for returning their workers to full employment? Both GM and Chrysler are being bailed out by the US taxpayers yet the only transportation modes being considered for these companies is automobiles and trucks. Where is the evidence of American ingenuity and expertise in the rail industry, why firmly planted in the dismantling of the passenger rail system back in the '60s.

This past month the "Cash for Clunkers" program boosted auto sales for Ford, Toyota and Honda yet did little for GM and Chrysler (see link here). And just who are the majority owners of these fine losers? The American people, of course. We need to pay ourselves first and invest in an American controlled transportation manufacturer. That will take a change in just what we manufacture.

We are going to need a quantity of light-rail vehicles, as well as a larger quantity of heavier rail vehicles and a good number of High Speed Rail trainsets. I see no reason that these vehicles cannot be produced right here in the good old USA. By the folks that built the trains that connected the East coast with the West. We can employ our own engineers to design our rail facilities(NASA probably has a few dozen capable of the job). We have people who can design and build the tracks, as well as maintain them, right in our back yard. So, how long are we going to stand in our own way of getting the job done?

There is currently only ONE producer of streetcars in America, The Oregon Iron Works, and they aren't even in the transportation business. They do dams and bridges and things. Shouldn't we have our transportation people designing these things?

The "Cash for Clunkers" program was to designed to make the individual auto more efficient, a streetcar system can make our entire city more efficient and a High Speed Rail system can make the whole country more efficient.

One last question. Does anyone know the total value of the aircraft owned by the aviation industry, both in service and those mothballed out in the desert? I would love to know the answer.

No comments: