Monday, May 29, 2017

Decades of Inefficency

As this is being written there is a westbound tractor trailer beginning the ascent up the I80 grade from Milesburg, PA to Snowshoe, PA. Before reaching Snowshoe the tractor trailer will be operating at 8 mph. Another tractor trailer driver will believe that the rig being driven can pass the 8 mph rig. Now there is a line of 3 or 4 rigs moving at 8 mpg in the right lane with 1 rig and 2 following in the left westbound rig lugging at 9 mph. Behind and among the rigs are motorists angry at the civil engineering decisions that created that part of I80. There is no money for a third westbound lane. The described has been part of the driving experience on I80 virtually since the grade was opened in the 1970's.

Did one political party obstruct infrastructure investment because it believed there was political advantage to do so?  Did the other political party point out how doing so harms the economy?

The Milesburg to Snowshoe westbound grade impedes interstate truck traffic. It adds to trucking costs. It adds to driver  hours of service. It causes avoidable wear and tear. I causes avoidable fuel consumption. It is just one of many transportation ineficiencies in the Interstate highway system.

Should a lane be added? Or, should railroad capacity in the form of a higher speed railroad HrSR be an alternative to the highway by operating 100 mph double stack containerized freight trains as being an alternative to the highway. With such freight railroad capacity and service will come the ability to operate HrSR passenger trains.

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