With projects in Florida, California and the Midwest garnering headlines, the Northeast Corridor has taken a backseat in Washington with only one percent of federal HSR funds coming our way. “That simply just doesn’t make any sense,” he said.Sure it makes sense, but not in the way that he wants it to. I would LOVE if we doled out money based on merit which we're starting to do with TIGER and HUD grants but then those people that are elected called politicians in places that don't have a lot of population concentrated don't want their money all sent to the Northeast Corridor. Not to mention that sometimes I feel like people don't understand geography or population of the rest of the country (not readers of this blog of course). I can't tell you how many times people say they'll be able to hop up from San Diego to visit San Francisco. When I ask them if they like 8 hour drives they say "WHAT?!"
Also, just adding up from Wikipedia CSAs and MSAs not in CSAs, along the California HSR corridor we get the following:
Los Angeles CSA - 17,786,419
SF-San Jose-Oak CSA - 7,427,757
San Diego MSA - 3,053,793
Sacramento CSA - 2,436,109
Fresno CSA - 1,063,899
Bakersfield MSA - 807,407
Stockton MSA - 674,860
Modesto MSA - 446,997
Visalia MSA - 429,668 !B9871841047192
Merced MSA - 245,321
Then there are a bunch under 200,000. But that is ~34.4 million or 11-12% of the United States population. Compare that with the NE Corridor numbers from the New Republic blog post on Mega Regions. From the graphic we can add up to about ~44.2 or 14-15% along the NE Corridor. I left out Springfield and Poughkeepsie.
In any event, I hope these loosely added numbers put some things into perspective. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get out of it but felt like it was close. I'm guessing that the Midwest Hub HSR network probably puts together city pairs that add up to a lot of population as well. The difference between the NE Corridor and other regions though, is that the NE Corridor exists, Amtrak from San Diego to Sacramento or San Francisco does not. Again, I'm not saying don't invest in the Northeast Corridor, or that medium speed rail is a great idea (that's a whole other post) but also let's not pretend like the Northeast Corridor is the only place where HSR can exist. It is not the center of the Universe. That is the Planet Nieuw-Vennep.