I am under the impression that the airlines typically support transit that connects cities to airports (especially in places where an airline operates a major hub) - however, they will simultaneously lobby hard against high speed rail or any other long-distance service that threatens their existing routes.
It depends on which high speed rail you're talking about. Continental and American both support the Texas T-Bone corridor, so that they will be able to focus on long-haul flights out of their respective hubs in the Texas Triangle.
My impression is that airlines' attitutes (in the US at least) toward local transit ranges between outright opposition and grudging acceptance. They don't like the increase in passenger facility charge, and tend to see no benefit to their customers who surely must be rich enough to own a car. When a transit link does get built it's usually because the local transit or airport authority says so, airlines be damned.Long distance trains are a somewhat more complicated matter. Continental, for example, currently offers a code-share with Amtrak from Newark to Phildelphia, Wilmington, Stamford, and New Haven. And it probably makes sense for many of the legacy airlines to use intercity rail to provide local connections, eliminating unprofitable regional flights and focusing on the much more profitable international and transcontinental networks. But there are other airlines, like Southwest, that focus on medium-distance domestic flights, and are thus direct competitors to intercity rail, and thus tend to oppose things like high speed rail projects.
i think a lot of perspectives have changed on this topic in recent years, it seems even the auto industry supports better transit. could also be that some of the traditional opponents of transit and rail in the past (auto & aviation industries) are not in a very good position today to be on the offensive. if i recall correctly from the book "light rail transit on the west coast" the chaos from the early 70s oil embargo on the oil companies provided a window to allow transit to receive highway money that otherwise would have been opposed by the oil lobby. and that this helped in large part to fuel the light rail renaissance in the following years.i mentioned in a post on another topic on this blog several weeks ago about a paving contractor saying that he hoped that one of main parts of the infrastructure spending bill included transit.we'll have to see if the airlines try to sabotage the CA HSR, they didnt seem to fight it so far. might that change now that the project seems much more likely [knocking on wood]this video clip of obama is very promising for urbanists, a shout out for jane jacobs...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--vlT1iGF0g
Responding to Arcady: Good point. I tend to think that way as well. They also do in various European countries: the U.K. (in England and Scotland), France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.
Don't forget electric companies! They love, love, love the idea of being able to expand their operations and correctly claim to be helping save the environment by doing so.
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