Wisdom and Advice About High-Speed Rail
By Kathy Castor, Tampa Tribune op-ed
Tampa, Mar 2 -
"The highlight of 2010 was our acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, a purchase that's working out even better than I expected.
"Railroads have major cost and environmental advantages over trucking. â¦ Last year BNSF moved each ton of freight it carried a record 500 miles on a single gallon of diesel fuel. That's three times more fuel-efficient than trucking is, which means our railroad owns an important advantage in operating costs. Concurrently, our country gains because of reduced greenhouse emissions and a much smaller need for imported oil. When traffic travels by rail, society benefits."
Like freight, when people travel by rail the benefits are extensive, including avoiding congestion, reducing oil consumption, and reliability.
Indeed, I traveled on Interstate 4 last weekend and found myself caught in a significant traffic jam. Congestion will only worsen over the next decade unless we plan ahead. If turmoil in the Middle East leads to higher gas prices, Florida will be well-situated with a modern travel option. Don't miss this opportunity to tap the optimistic "can-do" spirit of America, as Buffett so aptly describes:
"Money will always flow toward opportunity, and there is an abundance of that in America.
"Commentators today often talk of 'great uncertainty.' But think back, for example, to December 6, 1941, October 18, 1987, and September 10, 2001. No matter how serene today may be, tomorrow is always uncertain.
"Don't let reality spook you. â¦ Human potential is far from exhausted, and the American system for unleashing that potential â a system that has worked wonders for over two centuries despite frequent interruptions for recessions and even a Civil War â remains alive and effective."
I urge Gov. Rick Scott to move boldly on the opportunities for jobs and a sound economic future for Florida that high-speed rail provides. Any uncertainty in this major jobs initiative can be addressed by doing the tough work together, but we must secure these opportunities and a brighter economic future for our state.