For those of you who wonder about using exsting rail beds, and how practical that is, take a look:

Granted, a deal has to be worked out with the owner of the line to add more trackage or use the existing tracks on some kind of lease agreement. However, this was worked out with the Northstar line, and the UP was very receptive to the Red Rock line:

The metro area tracks are equally amazing, frankly. You can build an incredible system for very little money if you use just what we already have in place:

Naturally, these should be tried first in corridors that appear to make the most sense, and the reactions of passengers carefully monitored. I would reccomend starting slow, and staying with just the already planned Red Rock. As we guage passenger response and find out what they want and need, a similar program to engage non-riders by survey would need to be done.

But in the end, the reason for trying this at all is the relatively low cost:

(Tho, in that graph, the overall costs of car travel only have a small subsidy of 3 cents per mile -- but the marginal cost of additional cars in some corridors exceeds the 11 cents per mile government cost of commuter rail. Note that the amount riders are willing to pay is a consistant 15 cents or so and no more, versus 37 cents for their car; this reflects the marginal cost of a car in terms of maintanance and gas, whereas the total cost for a car includes fixed costs like insurance and purchase.)

Erik Hare      [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Irvine Park, West End, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA, North America, Earth

Fine Amish furniture, cedar chests, and crafts

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