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School: Oil Crisis News from Around the World • Quest 01: Oil Crisis News • Task 01: Comments, Press Releases, Announcements
updated 2/18/2004 5:21:00 PM by Gunnar H.
As there are many proponents and modes of sustainable transport, this paper will focus on one mode, electric standard gauge steel wheel railway, and outline the concept.

Railway is ultimately the "priority trunk line corridor" mode, with the best logistics for stand-alone operation, maintainence, and disaster recovery. The railway is prepared, in house, to keep itself operating, and because of the inherent "will to live" aspect of this second dimension surface transport mode, lends itself to inclusion in any discussion of sustainability, particularly when power for prime movers is derived from renewables enroute, or distant & dedicated generation.

In the USA, the corporate ethic of railways has been to trim the route miles and plant to the barest minimum, so as to assure the greatest possible operating ratio, giving best possible return on investment. The new energy paradigm will force another look at the current formula, probably including growth of public owned corridor and warehouse interface. The vitality of the private operator will have to merge with the strategic imperatives of government fiat, which shall dictate vast expansion of capacity and reach, pre-emptive, if you will, of an inexorable shift from highway based commercial transport that will surely come with the effects of fuel allocation.

The linkage of railway with renewables source power is also inevitable, as it becomes all too apparent that efforts to tie renewables to private vehicles is simply a misallocation of financial, as well as energy, resources. Private vehicles are in and of themselves not a robust transport mode, in time of energy disruption or worse, a period of homeland war emergencies or natural disaster recovery.

Politically a bitter pill, it will require informational effort on the part of planning leadership, on the corporate, governmental, and even local level to lay out the important facts and need for drastic changes in transport habits to meet the challenge. Fossils based transport is passe', it puts the economy into an increasingly vulnerable position each day the facts are withheld! Ultimate reckoning pits agriculture vs. cars.

The funding requirements are impressive, and great care must be employed to shift resources to a post-fossils economy. This will be an appropriate time in the National History to create a new series of savings bonds, "ENERGY INDEPENDENCE BONDS", modelled after the WWII US War Bonds.

The highest integrity must be maintained, as to the parameters of disbursement of monies raised thru this bond program. A board of governors including transport and electric engineering professors, should be formed. The need for transit-oriented development and land use policy in step with the Oil Interregnum is obvious.

This writer, as a private individual retired from 40+ yrs. of transport related experience & study, is deeply concerned regarding the USA ever-increasing adverse import oil ratio, particularly as it supports motor transport. The adage "put your money where your mouth is" has been taken to heart, leading to intentions to provide, adjacent to the Lake Tahoe Airport (TVL), a modest site that shall be used to exhibit equipment and visual dispays to interpret the railway mode, past & future, with emphasis on the needed link with renewables power, and ways and means of providing Trunk Corridor/National Cohesion thru the challenging years ahead. One feature will be equipment and hardware on loan from various manufacturers of rail and renewable energy companies.

The importance of maintaining a high level of morale among the citizenry and the financial institutions is paramount, and in that line it is recommended that serious and early action leading to implementation of the Federal "Energy Independence" Savings Bonds move forward. Thank You.

Gunnar Henrioulle, Associate, Tahoe Valley Lines CA 96158

Thank you for presenting clearly an outline for a plausible transportation future. In a place such as Lake Tahoe it is especially important to develop fixed guideway solutions to preserve the natural environment.

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