May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


American Continental High-Speed Train Proposal

I would love to see this happen.

At a cost of ~$18 million/kilometer
(approximate average from table 2 here.)

And each line in km:

Green ~ 2500
Yellow ~ 6000
Red ~ 5500
Turquoise ~ 3500
Grey ~ 1200
Dk Blue ~ 5000
Pink ~ 4500
Lt Blue ~ 2500
White ~ 7500

TOTAL ~ 38,000 kilometers of initially-proposed lines

Cost to roll out this infrastructure would be ~

  18 million $/km
x 38 thousand kilometers
$684 billion

That seems quite low.  Looking around further, estimates range as high as $220 million per mile.  This likely includes intensive tunneling and difficult terrain.  After translating that to km, my rough guess at a realistic average number would be $80 million/km.
  80 million $/km
x 38 thousand kilometers
~$3 trillion

The above number would be for laying out the infrastructure of tracks, trains, and trainports.  Other costs would include paying staff to run it, and to pay for maintenance.

A big consideration is the benefit of amortization out over perhaps 50 years (this BETTER be able to last way longer, with regular maintenance).  Can we afford $60 billion/year?

Other considerations are the savings from less reliance on cars, highways, airplanes, and gasoline fuel at unknown rising prices. Further are issues of externalities that this has a strong potential to circumvent.

To me, that makes a project like this look doable, with sufficient commitment.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

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