Of high-speed rail, a CTA red line extension and other transportation fantasies

Thoughts about the dismal state of transportation planning in Chicago, Illinois and the nation.

Thankfully, someone had the courage to step in front of the runaway train called "high-speed rail."

Wisconsin
Republican Gov.-elect Scott Walker campaigned against the Badger State
accepting the $810 million in federal stimulus money earmarked for an
80-mile Madison to Milwaukee line. Ohio Republican Gov.-elect John Kasich has also demurred on spending $400 million on a 249-mile Cleveland
to Cincinnati route, arguing that the money would be better spent on
repairing sagging infrastructure, including roads and freight lines. For
both, it's a case of pork on a high-speed rail.

Naturally, Illinois' own tin-eared Gov. Pat Quinn,
who hears in his razor-thin election a mandate to raise taxes, has told
the feds to send the money to pork-starved Illinois. As if we weren't
already wallowing in $1.1 billion set aside for a fanciful Chicago to St. Louis route.

Altogether the American Recovery and Investment Act allocates an
"initial" $8 billion (estimates of the final cost range up to $50
billion) for assorted fast train routes on which some speeds will be
capped as slow as 79 mph, which laughably means that it will barely beat

Quinn rail.jpg

chi-ct-highspeedrail00od20090727122230

Tribune photo by Antonio Perez / July 26, 2009

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is applauded at the Union League Club in Chicago on Monday, after singing an agreement today aimed at coordinating plans to develop high-speed passenger train corridors across the Midwest. The governor is flanked by (left to right) Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle and Iowa Gov. Chet Culver. Eight states and the city of Chicago signed the agreement, aimed at coordinating plans to develop high-speed passenger train corridors across the Midwest. "This is a historic day. It's very important that we look to the future," said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who hosted the summit along with Durbin and Daley.

motorists on adjoining expressways.

High-speed rail is an article
of faith for some greens who accuse any challenger of carrying water
for road builders and big oil. But the nonpartisan Congressional
Research Service tossed cold water on the idea, suggesting to Congress
that it seriously think twice about going down this path. Last December
its study warned of multiple shortcomings, challenging, for example,
claims about supposedly significant environmental advantages. The CRS
study also suggests to open minds that the idea cannot withstand serious
cost-benefit analysis.

None of this should be surprising. You don't have to look too far to
discover the kinds of obsessive thinking that infects high-speed rail
and other transportation dreamers. Exhibit A is Mayor Richard M. Daley's enchantment with the idea of express service to O'Hare International Airport, whether on an existing CTA line or with a fanciful magnetic levitation train. Metra
tracks already run out to O'Hare, but Daley is irrationally fixated on
having his or his successor's CTA run the service, providing the
Democratic machine with more jobs and contracts. Never mind that Daley's
O'Hare express idea already has flushed away more than a hundred
million for an unused transit center under Block 37.

railmap1.jpg

So, now we
come to the CTA and its $1.2-billion plan to extend the Red Line into
"underserved" South Side neighborhoods. Again, Daley and his machine
can't tolerate a more economical use of underused, existing rail lines;
they demand a much more costly new construction project under the
control of the city-dominated CTA.

The cheaper alternative to the
CTA's extension is plain to anyone who can look at a map. The Metra
Electric Division Main Line runs directly through the "underserved"
neighborhood. The stations already exist. All that has to be done is put
the Metra service on a more frequent 15-minute or less headway, similar
to the CTA's schedule, do some track, signal, station and other
upgrading and buy additional rolling stock.

This idea, described
as the "Gray Line Solution," has been proposed by a group of local
community groups and is backed by National Taxpayers United of Illinois.
(Details are at grayline.20m.com/). Its backers assert that it can be done for $200 million, $1 billion less than the CTA's Red Line.

The
building of such grandiose, new infrastructure is lunacy when so much
of the CTA is crumbling, facing, by the agency's own estimation, more
than $5 billion in unfunded work to reach a "state of good repair." If
the American taxpayers, creditors and future generations can afford to
cough up billions, it should go to keep the present system safe and
efficient.

But lunacy has pretty much been the hallmark of the
Chicago regional transportation system. The creation of the RTA in the
early 1970s was meant to create a rational, integrated system, but the
self-interested politics of the two mayor Daleys and the Democratic
machine have destroyed that idea.

Instead, it's as if nothing
happened in the last election. Illinois, Chicago, and federal officials,
elected and appointed, are proceeding in their normal loathsome mode,
content to waste billions to shore up political interests and political
correctness. No amount of reason will deter them.

Comments

Leave a comment
  • This was pretty comprehensive, but here are a few more points, related to high speed rail, but especially the CTA and "New Starts."

    My understanding was that Walker's main objection is that Wisconsin would be on the hook for the operating deficit. During the call for funding to save Chicagoland transit (as one advocate called his website) in 2005-2007, CTA repeatedly stated that one criterion for federal approval of New Starts applications was that there must be sufficient operating money to run the service, when instituted. Of course, having gone through that effort with the 2008 RTA bill to raise taxes, there certainly isn't any now, even to run the current system.

    Similarly, it was more recently said that it was doubtful that the state could come up with the matching funds for the New Starts currently on the table, including the Red Line extension, even though the mantra of 2005 was that the state wouldn't leave any federal money on the table.

    I had extensively discussed the Gray Line elsewhere, and while I initially supported the concept, it is clear that after 10 years, it won't happen, essentially for the reason you stated, or, as I put it, that the CTA has no incentive to subsidize Metra, and the RTA is a joke with regard to any coordinated planning role. Of course, Mike Payne did not help his case by filing a racial discrimination complaint, which he subsequently admitted, in response to a Chicago Now blog, was dismissed.

    Unlike some stuff in ARRA, like asphalt or even filling bus manufacturers' order books for 2010-2011, projects like this do not have an immediate impact on employment, but just implement other agendas. You can throw windmills into that formula. I have said that the New Start Program is basically a consultant's relief act, since unlike the Brown and Pink Lines, 5 or 6 years have past and none of the projects is close to being implemented (and the Yellow and Circle Line proposals are 90% on the way to dead). I don't see high speed rail as being much different.

    Quinn may be telling Talgo to move to Illinois, but unless Talgo finds contracts to replace the Wisconsin one, there wouldn't be much of a point for them even opening shop in the U.S. At least there was some basis for telling Sumitomo to move its Metra work financed by Illinois to Illinois from Wisconsin. Of course, that helps Rochelle rather than Pullman.

  • What I find amazing is that our governing bodies never seem to see that they are spending money that they don't have.All of theser projects sound good but never work.Amtrac is just one example.High speed rail,79mph,good grief.Between ray lahoodlum and dirty dick durbin they will spend every last borrowed dollar that they get their hands on.If you want to create jobs,take the uncertainty out of the tax system,then get out of the way.Oh yea, quit spending our money.....

  • Before I saw this article in Chicago Now, I sent in this response to the Tribune's "Letters to the editor" (I don't know if they will decide to publish it):
    ___________________________________________________________________

    In the Tuesday November 16, 2010 Commentary Column, Dennis Byrne comments on the extreme $1.2 BILLION cost of the CTA Red Line Extension, versus the $200 MILLION cost to implement CTA Gray Line service.

    My name is Mike Payne, I am the author of the "CTA Gray Line 'L' Route" Project"; and Mr. Byrne is correct in his analysis of the comparative costs of the two proposals:

    + The Red Line Extension would provide 4 stations, on 6 miles of route (from 130th St. to 95th St.)
    > For $1.2 BILLION Dollars <

    + The Gray Line Conversion would provide 37 stations, on 22 miles of route (from 130th to Randolph & Michigan)
    > For $0.2 BILLION Dollars <

    More frequent train operation, CTA Fare Equipment installation, and station, junction, and signal upgrades are most of what is needed. Metra actually has the rolling stock that would provide Gray Line services under order (the non-restroom equipped Highliner II's).

    The Gray Line in concept is included in CMAP's GoTo 2040 RTP.

    As I have been lobbying all of the transit operators for this proposal for many years, I can say that it was not only Daley and the Democrats who would not cooperate; but suburban Republican Officials (who appoint many members of Metra's Board of Directors) who also stonewalled for the same political power reasons.

    And reason MAYBE is winning out. Changes in Metra's Administration have place much more open minded and accessible individuals like Chairman Doris, and Executive Director Tupper at the steering wheel; and CTA has expressed some interest in at least discussing the idea.

    Coming later this year or early next year will be the RTA/CDOT South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study, to identify suitable projects to improve public transit - to submit for Federal funding.

    Hopefully next year will see a new Mayor, and the potential for an extensive new Transit service for Chicago's South Side. For Gray Line Information: grayline.20m.com or http://bit.ly/GrayLineInfo

    ___________________________________________________________________

    In response to jack: I knew before I even filed it that my Title VI Complaint would be dismissed (I can't afford lawyers and lobbyists in Washington to defend the case); the purpose was not to win - but the cherished PETA-sanctioned technique of "hitting a mule with a 2x4 to get its' attention" - and it DID succeed in that.

    And what I said is true, for the FIRST time - both Metra and CTA are tentatively willing to at least discuss the idea; one year ago, any thought of discussion was IMPOSSIBLE.

    Stay up on Gray Line happenings, and contribute your ideas or comments; please join the Gray Line Coalition: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Gray_Line_Coalition/

  • Mike Payne: "Hopefully next year will see a new Mayor, and the potential for an extensive new Transit service for Chicago's South Side"
    "the purpose was not to win - but the cherished PETA-sanctioned technique of "hitting a mule with a 2x4 to get its' attention" - and it DID succeed in that."

    ____________
    Well you can believe that, if you want, but as Dennis points out, Daley apparently deep sixed everything but the "Hopefully next year will see a new Mayor" (that's apparently a certainty).

    So, for instance, why don't you get Danny Davis (D-I can get signatures but won't run against Todd Stroger) or any other candidate on the TV to say that he or she endorses this plan?

  • I am working on that at this very moment.

    And Danny Davis, Toni Preckwinkle, and other elected officials got the granted funding for the upcoming RTA/CDOT South Lakefront Corridor Transit Study: http://www.rtachicago.com/CMS400Min/uploadedFiles/LIST%20FOR%202009%20POP%20PROJECTS.pdf based on the SOUL, and HPKCC Organizations lobbying for the "Gold Line" version of the proposal.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Too bad your link didn't prove that. Among other things, that is listed as a proposed 2009 grant to the CITY for stuff to be integrated into the New Start process. So far, the Gray or Gold or Puce Line has not been included in the latter.

    I'm still waiting for the TOD plan for Dempster, too, where the businesses seem to have fled.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    I of course cannot prove it, but I have talked to both RTA and CDOT; the Study is completely paid for, and they are finding a consultant to administrate the hearings (at least, that's what they told me).

  • In reply to mikep621:

    jack: Why the subtle, but apparent hostility??

  • In reply to mikep621:

    It starts with your admitted reason in your first post for having played the race card, but I had discussed that with you before, and won't repeat.

    It also goes to your repeated postings that you have the only solution, without showing that the residents in rest of the affected area would actually use the service, especially if it would result in the cancellation of the 6, 14, and 26 buses, which you have indicated would be necessary. I know what the first charge was made when the X3 and X4 were canceled,* while those riders (if only going to or from downtown) could have ridden the ME.

    ______________
    *If I have to spell it out, various people posted on various blogs that it was racist that a number of X routes were canceled in minority communities, even though the 140s were left alone. Of course, the X80, sponsored by future Mayor Rahm was also canceled, and the 2, 6, 14, and 26 were not.

  • In reply to jack:

    I admit to playing race cards, or anything else I have to do to get RAIL transit for the SE Corridor.

    PLEASE POST IT HERE if you are aware of ANY other plans by ANYBODY to provide CTA RAIL type Rapid Transit to the SE Lakefront; I've lived in Hyde Park and South Shore for many years, also Rogers Park and Lakeview.

    Being told "your South Shore express bus service is satisfactory" makes one want to blow up a building.

    And I do NOT advocate outright cancellation of any bus routes, but a six month ridership study - and then decisions based on usage.

    Question: How many of the Archer and Stevenson Expy. Express and Limited bus services remain, after the same type of ridership study after opening of the Orange Line?

    Besides my one solution, since 1996 - has anyone else come up with any actual rail service for the SE Corridor (95th to 130th does nothing for Hyde Park and South Shore)

  • In reply to mikep621:

    I also have lots of VERY intelligent people helping me, a new Coalition member recently created this great Operations Diagram for the Millennium Park Terminal during Peak Hours (this is WAY beyond my capabilities):

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Gray_Line_Coalition/attachments/folder/315703281/item/552397244/view

    I am sure with assistance like this, that by the time we get to the SE Corridor Study, we will have a comprehensive Shovel-Ready Project suitable to submit for funding; and the FTA has committed to sending a representative to the Study also.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    The answers to your two questions are:
    ->With regard to Archer Express service, none since 1997.
    ->With regard to actual rail service to the SE corridor, there is one, the Metra Electric. Except for Hyde Park, people don't use it (and Hyde Parkers, when I lived there, did not recognize the CTA). And, if I remember correctly, your only answer was for the CTA to subsidize transfers to the ME and call it the Gray Line. For instance, if you have any proposals for constructing bus terminals at 71st and Jeffery, 75th and Exchange, or 92nd in South Chicago to facilitate transfers, you haven't posted them yet. Also, you have never stated what the operating cost to the CTA would be. My first post raised the issue that capital plans don't work if there is not a provision for the operating cost.

    Maybe if you had a more open mind, you can see how things have not gone your way. And your confessions about the racial discrimination complaint have indicated to me how you have been derailed, just like whoever was the state senator (but not constitutional scholar like his predecessor) in Hyde Park who suggested passing a blatantly unconstitutional law that the South Shore must make all local stops, just to placate one demographic group. I do not equate the political dysfunction of the transit boards in this area to intentional discrimination. That's why your complaint was dismissed.

    The essential problems are (1) you haven't done the ridership study, and (2) you haven't [and probably until the current RTA is abolished cannot] overcome the problem that the RTA has no interest in service coordination, and the way the RTA Act was amended in 2008, requiring supermajority to take over an alternatives analysis, won't in the conceivable future.

  • In reply to jack:

    http://www.movingbeyondcongestion.org/press-releases/rta-cta-metra-pace-and-chicagoland-chamber-join-transit-and-business-delegation-during-white-house-jobs-summit.html

    Above jack is exactly why I have such a closed mind; off go RTA, CTA, Metra, and everybody to Washington to push "shovel-ready" projects;
    and guess which most "shovel-ready" project in the U.S. (the trains ARE RUNNING NOW) WON'T get mentioned while they are there, but I will be contacting the FTA here tomorrow.

    I was instrumental in STOPPING that STUPID suit against the South Shore by pointing out that the policy had been in place about 100 years - and NOT in response to recent demographics (please read the entire page, and sense my hostility):

    http://alwaysintransit.typepad.com/hyde_park_urbanist/2010/01/the-south-shore-line.html

    It is difficult for me to finance detailed studies of ridership, operating costs, etc. as I am right now a minimum wage 3rd shift suburban gas station attendant.

    And while the RTA is mostly ineffective, I will be contacting Toni Preckwinkle now that she will be County Board President (Thank God that IDIOT Stroger is gone); I spoke with her many times, and we will see if she can and/or will influence some of the Cook County Directors of Metra's Board.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-legislature-veto-session-1118-20101117,0,3991815.story

    This stuff is amazing, I couldn't dream it up. I'm sure this bill will pass the House, and as soon as it does; I will be First in Line to point out W A S T E at CTA and Metra (directly competing with each other).

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Get back from off the ledge.

    You are now at the point that you think everything is Gray Line, including the inspector general. That was specifically because of Pagano stealing Metra blind.

    The real problem is political, and I suggest you look at Secs. 2.01a(i) [12 directors] and 2.12(b) (9 votes to even start an inquiry) of the RTA Act and see why I say that there will be no service coordination until that Act is scrapped. And what is the only justification of the Gray Line--service coordination.

    It appears from Dennis's next post that Preckwinkle has more pressing things on her table.

    And, I guess that if you can't afford being your own consultant, you can't provide the market information that is necessary to get any project off the ground. If you can't realize that blogging here or screaming racism isn't going to get the job done, well, that's life.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Dennis: I realize that most of this was a side conversation with Mike, but it appears that I have exposed huge areas where in fact there has been a lack of planning on the Gray Line advocate's or maybe advocates' part. I know that the Tribune has been giving Mike publicity for about 10 years, but maybe it and you should think twice, when his plan has no ridership information, estimate of operating cost to be picked up by a supposedly cash-strapped CTA, nor planned transfer facilities from bus routes that, according to the latest Ridership Report have a total of 30,718 average weekday ridership. The only way Mike is going to free up the money is to cancel the bus routes I mentioned, and I really doubt that he is going to induce, say, 11,000 riders on Route 14 to transfer to the ME at 71st and Jeffery, who now have a direct ride on bus service he decries, without a huge protest.

    Also, as far as Mike is concerned, the Red Line extension to 130th isn't an alternative (note his point about the SE side supposedly not having rail). So, so much for the premise of your post.

    Mike's had 10 years to convince SE side politicians (one of which lives at Hyde Park Blvd. and Greenwood, when not at the White House; another tried to get appointed Senator in the former's place) to get this off the schneid. If they haven't yet, ranting nor occasional coverage by the Tribune is not going to accomplish this task.

    I don't know whether, after 40 years, there will be a Red Line extension to accommodate the 14,000 per day that use 95th, most to transfer to buses to go further south, but it is much more likely that the ME, in 10 years, will be restricted to the mainline than the Gray Line (which, considering unplanned station and transfer facilities is NOT SHOVEL READY, and thus any capital cost estimate being bogus) being implemented.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    jack, Maybe this information will explain some of my obsession to you; in 2003 these people used multiple criteria, ranked each criteria separately, and then calculated for a cumulative total.

    Do you think my powerless butt could possibly influence the outcome??

    Read it very carefully; what was the Ranking Study outcome??

    http://www.cnt.org/tsp/trans/ctaqc/projectscoring.htm

    http://www.cnt.org/tsp/pdf/Criteria%20Project%20Scoring%20-%20Project%20List.pdf

    __________________________________________________________________

    And in 2009, these folks compounded the crime!

    PLEASE READ the TOP of PAGE 19 VERY CAREFULLY - What does it say there; and how could I have possibly influenced them to say something like that???

    It was a COMPLETE stunning surprise to me when I first read it!!

    http://www.illinoispirg.org/uploads/C3/Yv/C3YvO-xHoA5eWCFoMMQhvQ/Getting-on-Track.pdf

    And what other "Shovel-Ready" project in the U.S. has the trains running Right Now??

    Dennis: What do you have to say in this UFC/MMA Grudge Match??

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Dennis, please contact Steve Schlickman; and ask him about the availability of State and Local matching funds ($560 Million) for the Red Line Extension. Last I heard, there are NO Local matching funds at all.

    There aren't even matching funds ($80 Million) for the Gray Line; BUT starting from ZERO, you are a lot closer to $80 mil - than $560 mil. Yes - No??

    Another reason I am coming on so strong now.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    And showing how delusional you have become. Schlickman is no longer at the RTA.

    I'm out.

  • In reply to jack:

    I notice > jack < that while you found time to post crappy comments ("delusional") about me; somehow you managed not to comment on the CNT Study of the CATS Projects, or the Page 19 recommendations in Getting On Track.

    You're not one of those people who ignore anything that doesn't support their point-of-view, are you??

  • In reply to jack:

    jack, you asked for Gray Line ridership figures, well thanks to new technology - I can deliver.

    Today, after learning how to use the PDF software that came loaded in my new Lexmark All-in-One, I was able create a PDF of the 1998 "Comments on Ridership Chicago Far South Transportation Study" created to promote the Gray Line. Now I must obtain a copy of the 1998 "RTA Chicago Far South Transportation Study" that "comments" refers to for posting, otherwise the "Comments" by themselves are relatively useless: http://www.box.net/shared/9eogms6vco

    This is a CTA Gray Line PowerPoint Presentation:
    http://www.box.net/shared/2iuoc4khdl

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Something I just noticed in re-reading the "Comments" document; on the first text page it describes the ORIGINAL Red Line Extension proposal - which took the line East from 95th St. instead of the present planned West turn.

    It would have then near 99th & Cottage Grove, turned South and up onto the Metra Electric District ROW, and followed it South to 115th - then as in the current plan follow the South Shore Line to terminate at 130th Street.

    It was pointed out to CTA the utter folly of constructing two new VERY EXPENSIVE electrified (third rail) train tracks, immediately adjacent and parallel to four existing but completely underutilized electrified (overhead catenary) train tracks.

    A couple of months later they announced the present Western alignment for the Red Line Extension.

    Also notice on that same page, that in 1996 the price quoted by CTA for the Red Line Extension was 280 MILLION dollars; now 14 years later it has B A L L O O N E D to 1.4 B I L L I O N dollars. That is Q U I T E an increase.

    And again - there are N O Matching Funds available from the State of Illinois and/or the RTA, to be able to qualify for a Federal Grant for the Red Line Extension!!

    There is N O (Local matching)funding for the Gray Line either; but I think it would be easier for the State and RTA to cobble together $80 million, than $560 million.

    I wonder what all the Mayoral candidates think of this situation, as well as other Transportation and Public Transit issues (aviation, marine, highway, freight rail, etc., etc...)??

  • In reply to jack:

    Gentlemen, I have greatly enjoyed and benefited from your exchanges. Obviously, there is much to learn regarding this issue, and I hope you continue to share your insights. However, I won't take sides, because obviously you both know more than I about this subject. And as long as your comments don't go beyond snide, they will continue to be welcomed.

    By the way, I didn't know that Steve Schlickman had left for UIC. If he chooses to open up, he would indeed be a valuable resource.

  • In reply to DennisByrne1:

    Thank you for your complements Dennis, and I will always continue to fight until the trains start running (I have Acute Don Quixote Complex - and I cannot help myself).

    If you can contact Mr. Schlickman, I'm sure he will confirm what I've said. And if you contact CTA's Planning Dept. and ask them directly - they may tell you the truth.

    And if there is NO plan for Local Matching Funds, the Feds will not let ANY Transit Project go beyond the Alternatives Analysis Phase (ask Steve and CTA about that too...).

    So if, under present financial circumstances there is to be no extension of the Red Line; what other much less expensive idea could be utilized to provide CTA 'L' service to the Far South Side??

    jack, Thank you for GREATLY advancing the Gray Line Project by motivating me to learn this weekend how to create and post PDF's; it is a very valuable skill, and it will prove MOST beneficial.

    I would like to invite you jack (and Dennis, and all others) to please join the Gray Line Coalition; in my opinion a "NO" man is a VERY good person to have in any campaign, and respectfully - you have that role down pat: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Gray_Line_Coalition/

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Hello Dennis, since you are a respected media columnist - you could contact Ms. Carole Doris at Metra, and Mr. Rich Rodriguez at CTA; and ask them what they know about the Gray Line, and the local Transit Capital Funding situation with the State of Illinois and the RTA.

    They are the Heads of their respective Organizations, and I am sure that they would give you honest answers.

    apital

  • In reply to mikep621:

    RIDE THE GRAY LINE: There is a new link on the Gray Line website, at the bottom of the Home Page there is a Link to a YouTube video: "Riding The Older Metra Electric Highliner Traincars".

    It is a video trip from the Millennium Park Station to 11th St./Roosevelt Rd; and it showcases the Metra Electric Districts
    Rapid Transit characteristics - Grade Separated ROW, Floor Level
    Platforms, Multiple Unit Electric Trains, and Off-Train Fare
    Collection (not shown).

    On the YouTube Page are links to other Metra Electric District videos to enjoy:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuKctuuJNeI&feature=related

  • In reply to mikep621:

    Steve Schlickman is now working with the U of I Circle Transportation Center.

    When he and I spoke recently at the CMAP GoTo 2040 Opening, he told me specifically that I could send the media to him, so he could confirm that there are N O Local Matching Funds for the Red Line Extension.

    So how delusional am I???

    Also jack, what have YOU done to improve the Public Transit situation in Chicago, besides sit up and biyatch about the validity somebody else's efforts; please POST LINKS HERE to the websites (right or wrong) that YOU have created over the many years.

    Now it IS an MMA Grudge Match; Dennis - as referee can you PLEASE contact Mr. Schlickman (wherever he is), and get his input on this situation. One thing that is very different is that he doesn't have to give Politically Correct answers anymore that would have offended Transit Operators - he can tell the truth now.

  • In reply to mikep621:

    I agree with a few of the details in Dennis Byrne's posting on High Speed Rail such as the futility of Mag lev and the Red Line extension. But in general, the opponents of High Speed Rail, to quote an old adage

  • In reply to varanid789:

    Of course, there is no indication that the ones in the Midwest won't be diesel. If there is a plan for stringing wire over the CP from Chicago to Madison, or on the route from Chicago to St. Louis, I would like a reference to that.

  • In reply to jack:

    None that I know of. But if Dennis Byrne and Scott Walker's attitude towards high speed rail is an accurate portrayal of Republican opinion on rail in general, we are going to have to be in the middle of the worst emergency in the countries history before anyone is going to mention the "E" word (electrification)

Leave a comment

  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Advertisement:
  • Subscribe to The Barbershop

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Dennis Byrne’s Facebook Fan Page

  • Like me on Facebook

  • google-site-verification: googlefdc32e3d5108044f.html
  • Meet The Blogger

    Dennis Byrne

    Chicago Tribune contributing op-ed columnist and author of forthcoming historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812." Reporter, editor and columnist for Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Daily News. Freelance writer and editor.

  • Our National Debt

  • Twitter

  • Categories

  • Tags

  • Recent Comments

  • Monthly Archives

  • /Users/dennisby/Desktop/trailer.mp4
  • Advertisement:
  • Fresh Chicago News