Our Vision for the Future of Rail
|About RAIL Solution|
|RAIL Solution is a grassroots advocacy group with over 1200 individual participants and a coalition of allied organizations. We emphasize balanced transportation planning, with a leading role for railroads. The time has passed when every problem of congestion and growth can be solved with more lanes of highway. Proper, balanced transportation decisions are vital to preserving the natural environment, ensuring our quality of life, and providing sustainable economic opportunity for Virginia and the nation.|
We promote railroads as a safe, clean, efficient carrier of freight and people, and this long-term vision — employ faster, upgraded rail service in concert with targeted highway improvements. This combination ensures the well-being of the citizens and businesses of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and Southwest Virginia. Our transportation plan promotes public health and safety while preserving the financial, environmental, and cultural integrity of our homes, farms, businesses, and communities.
|2011 - 2012 Goals|
1. Work with other Regional Initiatives to plan a founding congress of North American Steel Interstate Coalition (NASIC) and to procure adequate funding.
a. Increase Regional Initiatives (regional NASIC partners) to 10.
b. Add 25 NASIC sponsoring/affiliating organizations -- developing and extending partnerships with national environmental and smart transportation organizations and other national groups (check T-4America supporter list).
c. Create a detailed budget for NASIC organizing and pursue funding
2.. Improve, update, and reprint our promotional literature and revise our website to reflect new Corridor pilot project endpoints of Harrisburg, PA to Memphis, TN
3. Adopt plans to recruit public and organizational support from Harrisonburg to Harrisburg and Bristol to Memphis to extend resolutions of local support for a pilot Steel Interstate project in the I-81/I-40 Corridor from logistics companies, shipping customers, and local government and regional planning authorities.
4. Develop an itemized budget and fundraising plan to increase to full-time staff.
PROJECT DEVELOPMENT GOALS
5. Continue to advocate for an I-81/I-40 Corridor open intermodal rail strategy that goes beyond Crescent Corridor, which, because it is a double-stack container initiative, does little to actually divert the heavy flow of through trucks now afflicting I-81/I-40.
6. Monitor closely the development of the new Transportation Reauthorization Act, and work to include a demonstration grant for the Steel Interstate, as well as other rail-friendly provisions to the maximum extent possible.
7. Pursue an aggressive communications campaign with elected officials and Obama Administration staff, and Norfolk Southern to promote the Steel Interstate concept, piggybacking on the renewed interest in rail funding by both government and environmental groups.
8. Create and widely distribute a DVD media promotion about the Steel Interstate Create a detailed budget for the media project and pursue funding.
9. Continue to work with the I-81 Corridor Coalition and advocate for a multi-modal approach to planning that includes rail.
|The National Plan|
|In addition to our work in Virginia, RAIL Solution is devoting more and more attention to promoting a national transportation paradigm for the 21st Century known as the "steel interstate". The steel interstate would be a core national network of high-capacity, grade-separated rail lines for movement of goods and people in the U.S. and is analogous in scope and vision to the highway improvements made over the past 50 years under the Eisenhower Interstate System. Furthermore, the steel interstate can readily be electrified, allowing the nation to wean itself from dependence on imported oil by substituting domestically generated electrical energy. |
With proper planning over ensuing decades, we can have a core national steel interstate system in place before oil becomes prohibitively expensive or runs out. Featuring a network of high-capacity, electrified rail lines, it would be the backbone for movement of both goods and passengers in this country.
|The Reigonal Plan|
|Railways would be improved to accommodate growing freight traffic, primarily by building dual tracks and eliminating road crossings and other bottlenecks. Higher capacity rail lines would move freight containers, trailers, or whole tractor-trailer rigs, and potentially passenger trains, quickly through the I-81 corridor between Memphis, TN and Harrisburg, PA.|
The RAIL Solution plan also calls for targeted improvements to the dozen or so places on I-81 where accident rates are high. This would significantly improve the highway’s safety record. Climbing lanes on steep hills and extra passing lanes would be added in chronically congested areas. Selected dangerous interchanges would be redesigned and more funds and attention would be directed to traffic management and enforcement.
The improved railway could easily exceed the carrying capacity of the proposed highway construction and truly separate freight traffic from cars, with much room for growth at less than half the estimated highway expansion cost, while avoiding most of the 15 years of construction danger and traffic disruption.