The National Corridors Initiative, Inc.
Destination:Freedom

A Weekly North American Transportation Update

For transportation advocates and professionals, journalists,
and elected or appointed officials at all levels of government

Publisher: James P. RePass      E-Zine Editor: Molly McKay
Foreign Editor: David Beale      Webmaster: Dennis Kirkpatrick
 

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January 17, 2011
Vol. 12 No. 2

Copyright © 2011
NCI Inc., All Rights Reserved
Our 12th Newsletter Year

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IN THIS EDITION...   In This Edition...

  News Items…
US Begins Fighting Back Against Chinese Predatory Export Policies
  Environmental Lines…
CN To Introduce Fuel-Efficient Container Chassis
   For Truck/Train Hauls
  Safety Lines…
Chinese Rail Juggernaut May Be Copying American Rail
   1830’s Quality Control – But With 220-Mph Speeds At Stake
  Political Lines…
Message From Jim Oberstar
Rep. Blumenauer: New Republican Rules Threaten
   Infrastructure Funding
Congressman Mica’s Goal: More Cars Off The Highway
 
  Selected Rail Stocks…
  Commentary…
2010 Ends On Two Bad Notes For Transit Riders In New York
  Guest Commentary…
No Free Ride In Transportation
  Editorial…
A Winning Strategy For Obama
  Publication Notes …


NEWS OF THE WEEK... News Items...

US Begins Fighting Back Against
Chinese Predatory Export Policies

By DF Staff And From The Financial Times

WASHINGTON ---- In a move to counter China’s predatory mercantilist trade policy, the United States Export-Import Bank last week announced that it will help General Electric match Chinese terms on a major locomotive contract with Pakistan.

The Financial Times Robin Harding wrote:

“The US is going to match Chinese terms with cut-price export financing for the first time to help General Electric win an order for 150 diesel-electric locomotives from Pakistan. With Hu Jintao, China’s president, due in Washington next week, the move suggests Barack Obama, US president, will continue to push China to follow global standards on trade.”

“We’d rather that you play by the rules, but if you’re not going to play by the rules, then we’ll meet you,” Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, told the Financial Times.

For the complete FT article go to: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/641815b4-1de7-11e0-badd-00144feab49a.html#ixzz1ApnkMkqk

“This is a significant development not just for the United States in general, but for the American railroad equipment manufacturing industry,” stated National Corridors Initiative Chairman James P. RePass in response to the story. “The Export-Import Bank of the United States is signaling that China’s mercantilist export polices will no longer be left unchallenged by the United States, whose economy is reeling from the worst recession since the 1930’s and where export sales are seen as one way of bringing the economy back to life.”

“China, which has virtually no enforced labor or environmental laws and can therefore manufacture products at a fraction of the cost of Western countries, also deliberately undervalues its own currency as a matter of fiscal policy, which gives further push to what is already an overwhelming competitive export advantage,” said RePass.

Unlike passenger rail, where America has allowed the rest of the world to surpass it in favor of an extensive but financially unsustainable highway system whose costs overwhelm Federal, state and local highway maintenance budgets, American freight railroads, after years of decline, have once again become among the best-run in the world, and the locomotives built to power them are likewise world-class. For example, in 2008 a big hit of InnoTrans, the world’s largest railroad trade fair held every two years in Berlin, was an Electromotive Diesel freight locomotive.

More than 40% of all freight in the United States moves by rail, on a ton-mile basis, although the shipments are heavily skewed towards commodities like coal, chemicals, and petroleum, while high-valued freight tends to move by truck. In recent years, containerized shipping has helped freight rail reclaim some of that market.


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ENVIRONMENTAL LINES... Environmental Lines...  

CN To Introduce Fuel-Efficient Container Chassis
For Truck/Train Hauls

From CN And Internet Sources

CANADA --- Canadian National announced Monday that it plans to launch in April a new container chassis, EcoRide, that’s expected to reduce fuel consumption in the trucking of containers to and from its intermodal terminals by 8% to 10%.

CN said the new chassis, developed along with a Canadian supplier, is equipped with features “that reduce fuel consumption, hence greenhouse gas emissions; side skirts to reduce aerodynamic drag, a weight 15% less than conventional CN chassis; and low-rolling resistance tires on each axle instead of the normal four tires per axle.”

Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN executive vice-president and chief marketing officer, said: “CN stands for innovation and is continuously looking for ways to reduce its energy consumption and carbon footprint. After the successful launch last year of EcoTherm, our new greener insulated container, the CN team started to explore other opportunities to provide customers better supply chain solutions that reduce carbon emissions.

“CN’s next steps in environmental innovation will include testing hybrid container cranes, in-terminal hybrid trucks, and energy efficient generators. CN is deploying the hybrid shunt trucks in ground switching of containers on chassis at our Brampton Intermodal Terminal this month.”


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SAFETY LINES... Safety Lines...  

Chinese Rail Juggernaut May Be Copying
American Rail 1830’s Quality Control –
But With 220-Mph Speeds At Stake

By DF Staff And From The South China Morning Post/Mass Transit Magazine

CHINA --- In the earlier days of American Railroading, c 1840-1850, one of the observed phenomena was this: on opening day, the new railroad line from here-to-there would with great ceremony fire up its brand new British-built steam locomotive --- we weren’t building many of our own yet, and so they were mostly imported --- and start off down the newly-laid track.

The train wouldn’t get more than a few hundred feet before one or more of the rails or sleepers (ties) would slide off the also-new roadbed, taking the locomotive and one or two cars with it.

These accidents weren’t usually fatal --- they were going 5 mph at best when starting off --- but they were a puzzle to the Americans, because they had seen these same locomotives operating successfully in England at 20-30 miles per hour and more, with no problems – that’s why they bought them!

But in America these same locomotives were tipping over on a regular basis. It didn’t take long for America’s railroad builders to figure out that the heavy British locos were too much for the hastily-laid and poorly-ballasted quick-buck American railroad of the era; in England the railroad infrastructure was, from the very first, built for the ages, largely because of the insistence of the great British railway builder Isambard Kingdom Brunel that the infrastructure be built to last. For example, the line from London to Bristol he built in 1841 has tunnels and bridges still in used today.

The American response was two-fold --- to build better (but still not English-quality) railroads and to design our own lighter-weight locomotives that would put less stress and strain on the rails and roadbeds being billed at that time.

This is a long-winded introduction to a modern version of that American story, because reports coming out of China say that the Chinese, in their rush to build High Speed Rail that very much resembles America’s rail-building frenzy of the 19th century, may have made a very serious error in materials used for track that is already in place, and being laid down every day.

Stephen Chen, in the South China Morning Post, writes this past week that there are “Judgment Day” Fears for Chinese High-Speed Rail:

“Construction of the mainland’s massive high-speed rail network is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success. The breakneck speed at which track is being laid means engineers are likely to have to sacrifice quality for quantity on the lines’ foundations which could ultimately halve their lifespan. The problem lies in the use of high-quality fly ash, a fine powder chemically identical to volcanic ash, collected from the chimneys of coal-fired power plants. When mixed with cement and gravel, it can give the tracks’ concrete base a lifespan of 100 years.

According to a study by the First Survey and Design Institute of China Railways in 2008, coal-fired power plants on the mainland could produce enough high-quality fly ash for the construction of 100 kilometers of high-speed railway tracks a year. But more than 1,500 kilometers of track have been laid annually for the past five years. This year 4,500 kilometers of track will be laid with the completion of the world’s longest high-speed railway line, between Beijing and Shanghai. Fly ash required for that 1,318-kilometre line would be more than that produced by all the coal-fired power plants in the world.”

The problem writes Chen, is that the Chinese are using low-quality fly-ash, which could have major consequences:

“Professor Wang Lan , lead scientist at the Cement and New Building Materials Research Institute under the China Building Materials Academy, said that given poor quality control on the mainland, the use of low-quality fly ash, and other low-grade construction materials, was ‘almost inevitable’ in high-speed railway construction. And that could have fatal consequences, Wang said. With a catalytic function almost opposite to that of good fly ash, the bad fly ash could significantly weaken railway line foundations and shorten a railway’s lifespan by about half. That would mean China’s high-speed rail tracks would last only 50 years.”

“But,” continues Chen, “Zhu Ming - a researcher at Southwest Jiaotoing University’s School of Civil Engineering who experimented with fly ash at a Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway construction site last year - was even more pessimistic. The use of low-quality fly ash would threaten the safety of rail passengers, and ‘judgment day,’ [i.e., tie/track failure] might come sooner than expected, Zhu said.”

For the full report go to: http://www.masstransitmag.com/publication/article.jsp?siteSection=3&id=13349


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POLITICAL LINES... Political Lines...  

Message From Jim Oberstar

In a letter to the Transportation for America Coalition, outgoing Chair of U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure,
Hon. James L. Oberstar, has praise for the work of the advocates and a sober comment on our transportation future.

Sent to DF editor from T4 America

Dear Friends:

As I prepare to end my 36-year career in Congress, I want to take this opportunity to thank the millions of concerned Americans who have supported my efforts to create a new, bipartisan vision for our Nation’s infrastructure.

Rep. James L. Oberstar

Rep. James L. Oberstar
The Transportation for America Coalition has played a key role in educating and activating Americans on the vital need to create an innovative, robust blueprint for the country’s transportation future.

Congestion is choking our roadways.  Our bridges are in dire need of repair, rehabilitation, or replacement.  Transit options are inadequate or nonexistent in most communities, and our passenger rail system pales in comparison to those in Europe and Asia.  Our economy is suffering for it.  Our standing in the world marketplace is slipping.  If we can’t move people to work and goods to market, we will never recover.  

At the same time, we need to create and sustain good, family-wage jobs.  As the stimulus provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has proven, investment in our transportation infrastructure will do that. We must approach our transportation holistically.  We can no longer afford to focus separately on highways, transit, and rail.  The Department of Transportation must develop a culture of intermodalism, one where DOT agencies share information, ideas, and initiatives.

If we are to reform our Nation’s transportation system, we must also address the issue of funding.  The fuel tax, the backbone of our surface transportation revenue stream, has not been raised since 1993.  A dollar today does not buy what it did in 1993, and this is especially true of construction costs, which have increased far beyond the rate of inflation.  

Voters and legislatures in several states have elected to raise their state and local transportation taxes, and that is commendable.  However, if we are to avoid a state-by-state patchwork of highway conditions and transportation systems and have a truly national transportation network, we must approach this issue on a national scale.  This must be done by Congress.

While fuel taxes will remain the foundation of our transportation revenues for the foreseeable future, we must look beyond this source for sustainable funding.  As Americans choose to burn less fuel, drive more efficient cars, and live in communities with better transportation options, fuel purchases will level off and eventually decline.  New sources of revenue must be identified, developed, and phased in to supplement, and possibly eventually replace, the fuel tax as our primary source of transportation funding.

New leadership comes to the House Committee on Transportation in 2011, and the effort to craft a new, six-year surface transportation authorization bill will begin anew.  It will be up to you in the Transportation for America Coalition, and informed, motivated groups and individuals throughout the country, to make your voices heard again, to help steer Congress to making the right choices for America.

Good luck and God bless.

James L. Oberstar, M.C.


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Rep. Blumenauer: New Republican Rules
Threaten Infrastructure Funding

From The Infrastructurist

This week, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives adopted a new set of rules for the way the House runs –
rules which threaten to undermine funding for our nation’s critical infrastructure needs.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer

Rep. Earl Blumenauer
Under these rules, the new Republican majority will enact a draconian budget without a single hearing, without any input from the Budget Committee, without any outreach to Congressional Democrats, and without a direct vote by the House of Representatives. Merely by entering a statement into the record, the Budget Chairman can subject all spending beyond whatever levels he deems appropriate to a point of order. This level of concentrated authority runs contrary to the premise of transparency that Republicans campaigned on, and, given its disregard for scrutiny, runs the risk of greatly damaging our infrastructure, our economy and the welfare of millions.

The rules themselves make a mockery of prudent budgeting. While the Republican rhetoric has been laudable in some instances, their “Cut-as-you-go” rule is riddled with loopholes. For instance, it allows tax cuts for corporations to be deficit financed, while programs like child tax credits must find offsets. In fact, these rules forbid eliminating even the narrowest special interest tax loophole to find revenue for effective government programs.

The most casual glance at the origin of this country’s debts illustrates the fallacy of their approach. These rules make it possible to make permanent the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for the highest-income taxpayers without finding a dime to offset the cost to our nation. The rules also allow the Republican majority to ignore the cost of repealing the Affordable Care Act, which not only saves nearly $150 billion during the next 10 years, but reduces healthcare costs by nearly a trillion dollars during the following decades.

In no way do these rules result in the type of prudent budgeting that my Republican colleagues campaigned on, nor does it resemble anything like what any hardworking American family must do. At a time when the Republican majority is pledging greater openness, the rules are also anti-democratic by depriving 600,000 taxpaying D.C. residents of their ability to have their voice heard in the Committee of the Whole.

Most importantly for readers of this site, the rules package undermines opportunities to continue investing in America.

By eliminating the point of order guarding Highway Trust Fund balances, this Republican majority threatens investments in communities large and small across the country. Historically, this point of order ensured that Congress delivered on the transportation investments promised in the transportation authorization, and that states and communities could count on the long-term commitments made in that legislation. By removing this point of order, and allowing Highway Trust Fund balances to accrue and mask the actual deficit, the Republicans are engaging in budget gimmickry that undermines our economy and the safety of our communities.

Organizations from the Chamber of Commerce to the American Association of Highway Transportation Officials have expressed their strong concern about destabilizing transportation funding, and have urged the Republican Conference to make changes. I join with these organizations in expressing my concern and disappointment.

At a time when the need to invest in our communities is higher than ever, these rules will make it possible for the Republican Congress to decrease our investment in infrastructure, undermining efforts to rebuild and renew communities across the country. In addition to the new rule regarding the Highway Trust Fund, these Republican rules also limit the ability of the House to raise revenue for the Highway Trust Fund. At a time when our needs are greater than ever, and individuals and organizations across the country are calling on Congress to upgrade our nation’s roads, bridges, and transit systems, limiting our options — as these Rules do — is shortsighted and foolhardy.

This is a guest post by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), found at:
http://www.infrastructurist.com/2011/01/07/rep-blumenauer-new-republican-rules-threaten-infrastructure-funding-guest-post/


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Congressman Mica’s Goal:
More Cars Off The Highway

In a recent interview with the Journal of Commerce, Transportation Chair John Mica (R-FL)
indicated that he shares many transportation goals with the Obama administration.

DCStsreetsblog, writerTanya Snyder

SANFORD, FL, JANUARY 14 At a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Sanford auto Train terminal, Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., new chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, assured supporters that the highway trust fund will not be “starved” under new House rules and, at the same time, he expressed his eagerness to shift more freight transportation to rail.

“My goal would be to get more trucks off of the highway, and more cars off of the highway.” That would ease pressure on federal road and bridge spending out of the Highway Trust Fund, by reducing the pace of wear and tear, he said.

Rep. John Mica

Rep. John Mica
Mica also referred to the vastly undersubscribed Railroad Rehabilitation and Improvement Financing loan program, which hasn’t shared the popularity of other federal funding programs like TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) and TIFIA (Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act). He told the Journal he could free up that funding for rail infrastructure, stating that “enhancement of rail takes pressure off of highways, if it’s properly applied.”

Mica would like to expand the Auto Train service to include commercial trucks, as in Europe. Such efforts, he said, save energy and “save the infrastructure, because four out of every five dollars for transportation now goes just for maintaining infrastructure. So I look at ways to take that asset, not only stop sitting on the (highway) asset, but stop wrecking the asset.”

The Congressman plans to hold a series of hearings and listening sessions around the country, starting in late February.

The current extension of the transportation bill expires March 4. It’s the sixth extension since SAFETEA-LU** expired October 1, 2009.

** (The Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users)

In October, 2010, Amtrak opened a new auto train station in Sanford, Florida, near Orlando, that seats 600 passengers and is about four times larger than its predecessor.

Apart from the larger passenger lounge, the modern structure contains a ticket counter, café, restrooms, and a gift shop.

Sanford is the southern terminus for Amtrak's Auto Train, which runs between this station and Lorton, Virginia. The original facility, which opened in 1971, was an older and smaller facility than the terminal at Lorton.

The facility was not large enough to accommodate growing demand for the Auto Train, which last year reported a year-to-year ridership increase of nearly five percent despite the economic recession.

With a grant of $10.5 million received under American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Amtrak replaced the former terminal building with a new structure. Construction of the new building began in 2009, after the hurricanes in 2004 damaged the former building.

A portion of the former station adjoining the new structure has been reconfigured into administrative offices and was scheduled to open in 2011.


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STOCKS...  Selected Rail Stocks...

Source: MarketWatch.com

   This
Week
Previous
Week
Canadian National (CNI)68.5667.54
Canadian Pacific (CP) 67.5165.83
CSX (CSX)69.2167.79
Genessee & Wyoming (GWR)54.7653.16
Kansas City Southern (KSU)52.0451.25
Norfolk Southern (NSC)65.4065.04
Providence & Worcester(PWX)15.8715.99
Union Pacific (UNP)98.6695.18


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COMMENTARY... Commentary...  

2010 Ends On Two Bad Notes
For Transit Riders In New York

By David Peter Alan

New Yorkers who use transit finished 2010 with a rough week. First, a major blizzard crippled the city, including its transit. Then, a scheduled fare increase took effect; the third in as many years.

Snow was expected in the New York metropolitan area but it was expected to be an ordinary storm. Only on Christmas night did the warning come that the next day could bring twelve inches of white trouble to the city. In fact, the city was deluged with twice that amount, and New Yorkers are still complaining about the poor job that was done to clean up the mess.

Transit was no exception. Much of the city’s bus service was suspended, and other buses got stuck in the streets. Many rail lines in the outer boroughs (Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx) experienced such severe problems that some were shut down for four days. The Long Island Rail Road did not full recover during that time, and Metro-North also had severe difficulties. New Jersey Transit also shut down bus service on Sunday evening and Monday, but NJT rail did better, according to the Railgram, the newsletter of the Lackawanna Coalition.

If the blizzard did not cause enough headaches, fare increases went into effect on Thursday, December 30th, adding insult to injury for New York’s transit riders. Ironically, the day the new fares went into effect was also the first day that full service was restored to the system. Fares on the LIRR and Metro-North increased by an average of 7.5%, but transit riders in the City were hit harder. The cost of an unlimited monthly transit pass rose from $89 to $104; an increase of 17%. The fare for a single ride went up by 11%, from $2.25 to $2.50, although a two-ride Metro Card still costs $4.50. Thus, an occasional rider would pay $5.50 of two rides, although the card can be refilled. Stored-value Metro Cards now give a discount of only 7%, so a sixteenth ride is free with the purchase of fifteen. In the recent past, when the base fare was $2.00, a rider would get six rides for $10.00, the regular price of five.

In a move aimed specifically at visitors to the City, the MTA has eliminated the day pass, making New York the first city to offer a day pass and later withdrew it. The pass had cost $8.25, and its last day was Wednesday, December 29th. The MTA had called their day pass the “Fun Pass” and now, the fun is over.

Andrew Albert, Chair of the MTA Transit Riders’ Council and Vice-Chair of the Rail Users’ Network (RUN), criticized the MTA Board for not considering other ways to raise revenue, including tolls on the bridges that cross the East and Harlem Rivers, and an increase in the user fee on gasoline purchases within the MTA service area. Still, rising costs and declining tax revenues made some increase in fares necessary, if distasteful. Albert criticized the Board’s act of singling out transit riders to pay more. In an article in the RUN Newsletter, he said that the transit system: “is the arteries and veins that make the region viable, fueling the economic engine that is the City of New York and its suburbs. So the Board took the only viable way out, in their view, raising the fares on working New Yorkers, which will undoubtedly hurt many a commuter.”

Albert also expressed dismay that few riders spoke out against the fare increases at the hearings which the MTA held during the fall: “the scarcity of ordinary folks, who did indeed turn out for the service cuts hearings, was a disturbing commentary on the public hearing process, and in many people’s minds, the futility of even showing up to speak. Many believed that the fare hikes were a done deal, and as it turned out, they were right.” The MTA implemented severe service cuts last spring.

The MTA action follows even more severe fare increases on New Jersey Transit, which went into effect last May. In the past nine months, fare increases were more severe in New Jersey than in New York, while service cuts in New York were deeper than those in New Jersey. Still, transit riders on both sides of the Hudson River now pay more money for less service. At the same time, motorists and truckers have been spared any increase in cost for use of the highways; there has been no increase in highway tolls or user fees on motor fuels, either in New Jersey or New York.

The snow will melt eventually, at least by the coming spring. Higher fares are permanent, and it appears that service reductions will also become a regular event in the lives of transit riders for a long time. Transit advocates also remain concerned that the practice of sparing highway users from similar pain will continue for a long time, as well.


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GUEST COMMENTARY... Guest Commentary...  

Virginia Rail Observations & Commentary

Richard L. Beadles

Photo via www.varpi.org  

Richard L. Beadles

 

No Free Ride In Transportation

By Richard L. Beadles

Volume III, No. 1        January 13, 2011

One hundred miles separates the 112th Congress, just installed, and the Virginia Legislature, which convened yesterday in Richmond. Both face a terrible dilemma. How to do “the peoples’ business” yet avoid public displeasure at the shock of learning that there is no free ride -- or haul -- in transportation. We have deluded ourselves for so long that the truth seems politically intolerable. Were it not so critical to the future of our country and of our state, it might be entertaining to watch survival politics at work.

Of late, it has become the habit of some to cite President Obama’s high speed rail program as a wasteful boondoggle. In fact, newly-elected governors in several states have told the feds they don’t want already-approved federal funding grants for HSR. While we would not attempt to justify every proposed HSR project in America, the truth is that passenger rail is fundamentally not that different from any other kind of transportation in the U.S. None of the modes, NONE of them, not even freight rail, are sustainable over the long term as free-standing, financially-self-sufficient, enterprises under existing U. S. transportation policies and practices. They all require, or will require, to varying degrees, public financial support, through the tax code or otherwise.

The greatest myth of all is that highways are fully funded by gas taxes, and other related fees and charges. The average citizen is likely unaware that over $30 billion of federal funding, from general taxpayer revenues, has been diverted to the so-called highway trust fund over the past few years just to keep that account from going broke. In Virginia the only real source of transportation revenue growth comes from the half-of-one percent on the sales tax, which dates back to 1986. All sources fall short of needs.

Commercial aviation -- one of the most favored modes of transportation when it comes to public policy and funding -- has enjoyed a slight reprieve recently due to economically-depressed fuel costs, but the industry is now once again facing the reality of escalating jet fuel expense, which in turn is going to put the squeeze on operations. Richmond recently lost some Jet Blue flights to New York. Since the first of the year, Delta pulled out of Lynchburg. This is likely to be just the beginning of service losses.

Back in the “dark ages,” the writer’s first-grade teacher used to travel from Richmond to the Eastern Shore via VEPCO streetcar, C&O passenger train to Old Point Comfort, PRR ferry to Cape Charles, and finally via PRR passenger train to her parents’ home. All of these entities were then privately-capitalized, tax-paying corporate citizens of the Commonwealth. None of them required an annual appropriation from the Legislature. Granted, nobody would want to travel in that manner today, but it worked.

Responding to the desires of their constituents, politicians of yesteryear replaced the old system with the current, more convenient, “public-trough” model. Now the challenge will be to break the bad news to the voters, and gain their support to fix it. Best of luck to the folks in Capitol Square, and to those on “The HILL” in D.C.


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EDITORIAL... Editorial...  

A Winning Strategy For Obama

This week’s announcement that the Export-Import Bank of the United States would match whatever terms the Chinese offer in the current competition to sell locomotives to Pakistan is a refreshing change from the passivity with which the United States has, until recently, begun dealing with Chinese mercantilist trade practices.

Over the past thirty years a combination of laissez-faire trade policies on the part of the United States, coupled with unrestrained outsourcing of parts and supplies and sub-assemblies by multi-national corporations to low-wage countries like China, has utterly decimated the American working class. Combined with income tax policies that favor the rich --- and so generate too little to maintain, let along build up, American infrastructure --- we are rapidly moving to a Latin American-style society of the very rich, and the peasantry.

President Obama’s decision to start, at last, to fight back using tools like the Export Import Bank is welcome, and should have been American policy 30 years ago when Asian competition first developed into a serious threat. But that didn’t happen, because the then-largely American-based multi-national corporations welcomed the opportunity to outsource. Suddenly, as it is becoming apparent, the multi-nationals are realizing that they haven’t only outsourced sub-assemblies to low-wage countries, they have outsourced their own ability to compete against China and others who are rapidly becoming not merely low-wage parts suppliers, but sophisticated builders of the finished product.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates got a direct view of that in China last week, when during his visit the Chinese unveiled their new fighter plane --- a very good copy of our own F-22. It’s one thing when Boeing outsources jobs to China; it is quite another when the Chinese then turn around and compete in world markets with the knowledge they’ve gained from supplying us, and from the sophisticated industrial espionage in which they have been engaged via internet hackings.

The Chinese were already formidable; they are becoming, or want to become, dominant. And unless we fight back, in trade and economic policy, they will succeed. The President’s decision to do that is a sign of hope, and the first one in a long time, that America may at last be rising from its three-decade laissez-faire slumber. It is ironic that General Electric, one of the first and most agile outsourcers of jobs, is to be the beneficiary of American government support to allow it to compete against a country where they sent so many American jobs. We’ll take it, irony or no.


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END NOTES...  Publication Notes...

Copyright © 2011 National Corridors Initiative, Inc. as a compilation work and original content. Permission is granted to reproduce content provided acknowledgements to NCI are given. Return links to the NCI web site are encouraged and appreciated. Color Name Courtesy of Doug Alexander. Content reproduced by NCI remain the copyrights of the original publishers.

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