LaHood To Learn From Spain On HSR

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood is visiting Spain, hoping to glean some knowledge from the country's recent successes with high-speed rail.
June 1, 2009, 7am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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"Spain, an enthusiastic latecomer to high-speed rail, on Friday will cap six-day tour of European transit systems by the secretary of transportation, Ray H. LaHood. Officials say the Spanish experience could hold lessons in what works and what does not.

"Spaniards have rediscovered the train," said Iñaki Barrón de Angoiti, director of high-speed rail at the International Union of Railways in Paris. "The Alta Velocidad Española, or AVE, has changed the way people live, the way they do business. Spaniards don't move around a lot but the AVE is even changing that."

"As has happened elsewhere, the high-speed train is stealing passengers from the airlines: The 2.5-hour route between Madrid and Seville claims about 89 percent of railway and air traffic between the cities, according to Renfe, the state railway operator. In its first year, the Madrid-Barcelona route lured nearly half the five million passengers who would normally fly between the cities, Renfe said.

Supporters say such statistics bolster the train's green credentials: The International Union of Railways says a high-speed train can carry eight times as many passengers as an airplane over a given distance using the same amount of energy and emits a quarter of the carbon dioxide for each

Thanks to Bay Area Transportation News

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Published on Friday, May 29, 2009 in The New York Time - Energy & Environment
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