Wednesday, March 17, 2010

High Speed Rail in China

Here's one look at how China is using the money we allow it to make through our deficit spending, initiated under George W. Bush. While China advances its technology and its infrastructure, the US continues to dither and act like another third world nation.
From an article in "Tree Hugger" (Team TreeHugger [newsletter@treehugger.com]):
"While it attempts to kick-start its struggling auto industry, the U.S. is talking about building a high-speed rail network with an initial $8 billion in stimulus funds. Meanwhile, China is investing over $300 billion in high-speed rail through 2020, in a bid to speed ahead of the rest of the world's train systems.
The numbers alone are head-spinning: 16,000 miles of new track by 2020, requiring 117 million tons of concrete just to construct the buttresses on which the tracks will lie. Top speeds from Beijing to Shanghai will approach 220 miles an hour, halving the current travel time to four hours. This year China Railway Company plans to hire 20,000 young engineers. Can we say leapfrogging?
China's high speed rail build-out is at the front and center of its stimulus spending, in large part out of fear: little is more intimidating to Beijing's leaders than the sight of thousands of unemployed workers. So far the construction of the Beijing-Shanghai route alone has employed about 110,000 people.
The rest of China’s stimulus program is focused on building airports, highways and environmental projects, particularly water treatment plants.
Here is a map illustrating China's eventual plan to link Beijing and London via high speed rail.


Stunning Rail Plan
Most of the new high-speed links will not be considerably faster than European trains. Thirty-five lines for trains traveling at 125 mph or more, measuring 6,800 miles in total, will be brought into service by 2012, officials say, with 4,350 more miles by 2020.
But the first phase will include five major routes – three running north to south, two east to west – with trains reaching 217 mph or 236 mph.
China spent $44 billion last year -- up from $12 billion in 2004 -- on rail.
“I don’t think anything compares except maybe the growth of the U.S. rail network at the start of the 20th century,” John Scales, the transport coordinator for China at the World Bank, told the Times."

While here, Republicans work their magic to assure that nothing our President proposes will ever see the light of day.
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