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United States News

The Super Superhighway 1005

Posted by samzenpus
from the we-got-a-huge-convoy dept.
valdean writes "The state of Texas is seeking to build a 4,000-mile megahighway network between Oklahoma and Mexico, called the Trans-Texas Corridor. The highway will be up to a quarter-mile across, and include separate lanes for passenger vehicles, large trucks, freight railways, high-speed commuter railways, and infrastructure for utilities including water lines, oil and gas pipelines, electricity, and broadband. In a recent press release, the governor of Texas said it will 'forever change the way we build roads.' So much for scenic drives."
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The Super Superhighway

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  • Speedy Limit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by neoform (551705) <djneoform@gmail.com> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:44AM (#11216084) Homepage
    any bets it'll still be something like 65mph..?
  • by rueger (210566) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:45AM (#11216096) Homepage
    Wow, am I alone in being reminded of the classic Robert Heinlein [heinleinsociety.org] story The Roads Must Roll? [wikipedia.org]

    The Heinlein concordance [heinleinsociety.org] describes the Diego-Reno Roadtown

    (It was a ) Motorized roadway that connected San Diego, California, and Reno, Nevada, on and around which a metropolitan area grew up; its terminal was called Diego Circle. The automated roads themselves were large enough to accommodate restaurants and other businesses, as well as the engineers' offices.
  • Traffic jams? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmuth (14143) <doug,muth+slashdot&gmail,com> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:48AM (#11216116) Homepage Journal
    I am curious... will this "super superhigway" have fewer traffic jams or more traffic jams than traditional highways? Sure, there will be more lanes, but if some stupid driver decides to cut across 5 lines of traffic to try and make an exit and causes a 500 car pileup, how badly will traffic be affected?

    Here's something else to think about: rest stops. They'll have to be HUGE. Like shopping malls. That could certainly be interesting.

  • by Staplerh (806722) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:50AM (#11216139) Homepage
    On the surface, I was inclined to say that this is a good idea - centralization seems to be the way of the day, and centralizing all these services in one superhighway could work. It'll revitalize the area that the superhighway goes through, much like the trains of the 1800s.

    That being said, there is a lot of reluctance to this project. Despite what the governor claims, this most certainly isn't a repeat of the Eisenhower-era Interstate project. It's probably just an opportunity for private corporations to enter the arena of mass transportation.. they would get some sort of rights over the variety of communications means that course through this privately-owned and made superhighways.

    The article refers to the use of private tolls to sustain this. Clearly, these investing businesses have done an analysis and realized that they can profit off this - despite its 'whopping' $175 bn price tag.

    This project would change the shape of the areas affected. New areas along the 'superhighway', and the areas that didn't get included... It would be interesting to see if this project goes ahead, and if towns then lobby in order to have access to the highway.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:52AM (#11216164)
    Rick Perry's job when George W was governor was to make Dubya look like a genius by comparison. Now he makes Homer Simpson look like a raving genius by comparison. It doesn't matter that Texas schools are in a crisis -- Perry's priority is to get cheap Mexican goods to Oklahoma faster so his buddies will profit.
  • Strange Reaction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Thunderstruck (210399) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:53AM (#11216171)
    Does anyone else thing maybe we're getting a little bit too mobile? It used to be that travel exposed us to unique local cultures, ideas, and products. We identified ourselves with our own home turf.

    Now, we seem to be becomming just bland "American" consumers. We watch the same entertainment, we listen to the same songs, we shop in the same chain stores, and we wear the same clothes.

    When was the last time you heard someone tell you they wanted to carry on the family tradition of a particular trade. How many college students move back to the small town because its "home"? How many of us devoutly carry on our family religions? Or how many of us think about retirement when we get our first job?

  • by NeoChaosX (778377) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:59AM (#11216213) Journal
    So you are to assume all people who oppose this are liberals? What about the fiscal conservatives who think it is a waste of money?
  • by Solder Fumes (797270) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:00AM (#11216224)
    How many of us give half of a crap about any of the above? How many of us think that everything should stay exactly the same as it was when we were kids, except it never was that way because we're just looking back through a nostalgia filter?
  • by MAdMaxOr (834679) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:01AM (#11216229)
    It will make for an excellent target^H^H^H^H^H^H transportation method. -Osama
  • by DanMc (623041) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:01AM (#11216233)
    There is 1 sentence in the article about environmental impact. I'd say this is huge, and I'm not normally one to gripe about environmental issues unless I'm trying to impress a girl.

    "Environmentalists are worried..." How is any animal going to cross this thing? Most animals won't go under an underpass a half mile long, and the only underpasses are likely to be for crossing traffic anyway.
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:03AM (#11216250)
    What about the fiscal conservatives

    There are no fiscal conservatives in government anymore.
  • by BrynM (217883) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:06AM (#11216269) Homepage Journal
    The site promoting this is trying to be too many things to too many demographics with far too much feel-good speak...
    • Transportation routes for hazardous materials must avoid population centers whenever possible. Like... Um... A major highway? The proposed route [keeptexasmoving.com] passes through the heart of the most populated [keeptexasmoving.com] areas
    • TTC will help... allowing faster, safer and more reliable movement of people and goods... To Mexico? creating jobs and attracting businesses that benefit by having access to an efficient transportation network ... To be closer to the hazardous waste routes?
    • The estimated total cost for the system ranges from $145.2 billion to $183.5 billion. Public-private partnerships, which bring funding resources from the private sector, will play a key role in constructing and financing the system. Other options include leasing right of way, toll revenues, and state and federal funds. Leased right of way? Tolls? The Profit Superhighway. Think of who's friends will land those building contracts...
    • Will other projects suffer if the Trans-Texas Corridor becomes the top priority?... Maintaining the current highway system will continue to be our top priority. Those are from two seprate things in the FAQ. Incredibly, they are not related. In context [keeptexasmoving.com], the seem to contradict. I'm betting two seperate people wrote these parts using "priority" as a buzzword. "Need" also has a prominant place in the FAQ.
    • The TTC will serve as a new delivery system to many communities across the state. For goods from Mexico? For immigrants from mexico?
    I realize that I'm being a bit harsh, but I'm really skeptical of this. The information site actually has very few facts. The focus seems to be commerce rather than quality of life. They use too many "nicey words" to back up their ideas. I'm still pouring through the site trying to keep an open mind for something I think could actually be really useful and cool, but my geek-sense says not to trust it.
  • All this rhetoric sounds fairly familiar. That's because about ten years ago Texas formed a "High Speed Rail Commission" to study THAT proposal. The end result was that a lot of bureaucrats got very fat salaries to study the proposal while it withered on the vine. This is an even more grandiose boondoggle, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the same special interests behind it. (Note that this is from a .com address, not a .gov address.) The funding and interest from the public at large simply aren't there. Right now there's a semi-revolt brewing over plans to turn highways previously constructed and paid for with bond money into toll roads. (I'm all for making new highways toll roads to pay for their construction, but screw double taxation.)

    The real chances of this getting built are pretty close to zero.

  • by nysus (162232) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:12AM (#11216304)
    Yeah, and I suppose Cintra is paying for the high profile PR campaign and web site [keeptexasmoving.com] for this project, right?

    Let me clue you in a little bit about how privatization works: Corporations leverage public resources to guarantee profits at taxpayers' expense with very little oversight. That is, they walk away with bags full of taxpayer dollars and the politicians that let them do it get rewared with cushy jobs also at taxpayer's expense).

    If this is such a great money-making idea, why not get a loan from the federal government and make it happen? Tom Delay could certainly bring home that bacon if he wanted to.

    This is nothing but a big fucking money grab, son. Yee-haw.
  • Aren't conservatives (in theory) -against- such massive projects unless a real need can be shown? Or are you just one of these who likes to throw around "liberal" like it's a swear word instead of an opposing philosophy?

  • Re:Soooo... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by HanzoSpam (713251) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:19AM (#11216360)
    I thought GW was a Massachusetts boy who moved south? A Pseudo-Texan, if you will.

    Actually, he's from New Haven, Connecticut.

    Don't let the Texas drawl fool you, they don't come any more Yankee than the Bush family.

    That's a Rockefeller Republican if ever I saw one.
  • Trucking is much less efficient than rail transportation for long distances. This proposal does at least include freight lines, but it still assumes that a large part of the trade is going to be carried on highways. Shouldn't we be building up the railway system and trying to shift long-distance freight away from trucks to the railways?

  • Re:Speedy Limit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by drawfour (791912) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:21AM (#11216374)
    Well, if it's built with private funds and is run by private companies (requiring a toll or a "season pass" or whatever they want to do to pay for it), then why would law enforcement have ANY legal powers to enforce speeds? Police cannot come to my property and make sure that I'm driving at 35mph on my own property. Even if there were agreements in place that allowed the police to travel those roads to enforce speed limits, it would be a CIVIL penalty, as opposed to a CRIMINAL penalty. So failure to pay a "ticket" could result in a civil suit and/or termination of "season passes", but should not allow for termination of licenses or other things.

    Of course, additional laws could be passed to get around this, but on the surface, it seems that police should have no legal enforcing power for any speed limits.
  • by MikeyO (99577) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:36AM (#11216469) Homepage
    UGH,

    If its going to be a quater mile wide, couldn't they devote 8-10 feet of it for pedestrians and bicycles? Wouldn't even have to be 8-10 feet of paved road, just 8-10 feet of dirt. What's worse is that they even call this a "Multi-use" roadway. Well hopefully this will keep more cars off the secondary roads to leave more room for bicycles.
  • by WarPresident (754535) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:44AM (#11216509) Homepage Journal
    If there were a Pave the Earth [geocities.com] Society, I would nominate the geniuses behind this plan.

    Is combining utilities distribution, mass transit, freight railways, commuting traffic, long-haul hazardous waste traffic, and oil and gas pipelines into one, easy to attack target a good idea?
  • by ravenspear (756059) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:27AM (#11216713)
    Does anyone else thing maybe we're getting a little bit too mobile?

    No. I love the versatility that a mobile society gives you. Don't like it somewhere? You can easily go somewhere else. You have so many more options open to you today than you did 50 years ago.

    It used to be that travel exposed us to unique local cultures, ideas, and products.

    Who's to say it still doesn't. I mean everyone speaks the same language, but as someone who has lived in the north and the south US, I can tell you that the culture is very different.

    We watch the same entertainment, we listen to the same songs, we shop in the same chain stores, and we wear the same clothes.

    Umm, maybe that's because we are all Americans (at least everyone living in the US, no offense to international /. readers). Would you prefer every cultural group do things separately? That just takes you back to segregation. I would think consolidation of cultural values would be a positive thing for a country's societal health.

    When was the last time you heard someone tell you they wanted to carry on the family tradition of a particular trade.

    Not in a while, which again is a good thing IMO. In the old days children were expected to carry on the occupation of their parents. In effect, the course their life would take was determined before they were even born. Today, we've given children the freedom to make their own choices about what they want to do with their lives. How can you be opposed to that? Everyone benefits there as we can all find greater satisfaction in our occupation since it's something we chose rather than something that was forced upon us.

    How many college students move back to the small town because its "home"?

    I see this more of a social variance that everyone has a different view of, but again it comes down to freedom of choice. If you like the atmosphere of the place you grew up in, the surroundings of your close family and the state of mind that gives you, then moving back home is probably a good choice. If on the other hand (as in my case) you feel disillusioned by all of that and want to pursue your own path, that is your choice to make.

    How many of us devoutly carry on our family religions?

    Again, what if you don't agree with your family's religion? Are you suggesting we curtail freedom of religion, one of the most basic principles this country was founded on?

    Or how many of us think about retirement when we get our first job?

    How many of us will choose not to start worrying about tomorrow as soon as we complete every task and instead take time to enjoy all that life has to offer even for a brief period? When you get your first job, you have decades ahead of you. Assuming you have at least some financial sense, it really won't be a problem when the time comes to deal with it.

    It really sounds to me like you don't understand the progress that has been made on many of these fronts over the last few decades. I know I would never want to trade this world for the one my parents lived in.
  • Re:Speedy Limit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ArticleI (842868) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:29AM (#11216725)
    That is news to me. Montana has a much lower population density than Texas, especially considering the route the Trans-Texas Corridor would take. This image [census.gov] should illustrate the point. I would like to now say "The Trans-Texas Corridor will have a speed limit."
  • by jgardn (539054) <jgardn@alumni.washington.edu> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:31AM (#11216733) Homepage Journal
    No. Mobility = Freedom. I want more of it. I want to be able to travel around the world one day. Heck, I want to visit Mars and Jupiter and distant stars one day.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by niktesla (761443) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:33AM (#11216742) Homepage
    He may not have been born here, but he's a Texan now. Texans stick to their guns (except for all those hippies in Austin - hey I'm an Aggie, so I can't cut them any slack;) ), especially when the going gets tough. I'm pround to be a Texan and have a President who is too. If you don't think he's Texan, then just read this [msn.com] - he handled it like a Texan would.

    To get back on topic, I'm not so sure we need this mega highway, although it would help crossing Texas a bit. I'm generally a supporter of Gov. Perry (after all he is a fellow Aggie:)), but I think he has bitten off too much with this plan. Anyhow, that's my $0.02.

  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:46AM (#11216802) Journal
    I've driven most of the way across the country several times, myself. You want to talk about tedious driving? Try leaving California on interstate 40 (the same freeway that goes through Texas and Oklahoma)...

    Around Needles, CA, there's a stretch of about 100 mile or so, and driving through it at 75MPH I'd swear it takes 12 hours every time.

    I wish I knew how the human mind worked. It's not the boring, repetitive scenery, because a long drive through Death Valley has less scenery, and is far less painful.
  • I'm conservative and I oppose it because I think it's wrong. They're going to declare eminent domain so that a private company can build a money machine with no plans on turning it back over to the government which represents the people whose property was extracted.

    Plus I'm a little put off by the mention of broadband transmission cable. The U.S. uses something like 1/10th of the bandwidth created during the .com boom, so what good are broadband transmission cables besides as a buzz words? Texas already gets FTTP in many places. Any more bandwidth and the MPAA is likely to sue them.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Zaphod_Beebleburp (839364) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:01AM (#11216886)

    The problem isn't with the interstates, it's with the drivers. I-35 isn't the only interstate with congestion problems. I-5 & I-95 are perfect examples. The concept of an interstate running through or around major cities(via beltways) has come and gone. Unfortunately, the only solution to date is to make them wider. It's the bigger pipe mentality, not enough fits through so just build a bigger one. It solves the problem temporarily, but 10-15 yrs down the road we'll encounter the same problem.

    The mentality of "my time is more important than yours'" has caused an increasing number of accidents on our interstates which in turn leads to backups. A North American Autobahn system would be better in my opinion and treat it the same way. A high cost license that offers the benefits of more competent and attentive drivers.

    Better drivers fix traffic problems faster than safer vehicles and wider highways. Yes, the left lane is the passing lane. Make in car Navigation systems only operate while the vehicle is in park, as well as cell phones.

  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@a l u m . m i t .edu> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:15AM (#11216942) Homepage

    The difference is that the major railroads (in the US) were built in the 19th century primarily on public land. The railroads were rewarded for building the track by grants of land adjacent to the rail lines. It's possible that eminent domain was used to some extent within the big cities, but for the most part the land along the tracks only came to be privately owned as a result of the construction of the railroads. It wasn't taken by eminent domain.

  • Re:Scenic Texas (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Calvinhood (244352) <johnathon_atried ... ail.com minus pi> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:28AM (#11217009)
    Dude, get out of Houston. Houston is the ugliest and least pleasant city in the United States. Take a trip to Austin or San Antonio, or hell, just drive up I-45 for an hour, and tell me if you still think Texas is ugly.
  • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:32AM (#11217031) Journal
    If you aren't going at least 10 over then you are a fucking jackass and deserve to be run off the road.

    These rules are pretty much the same everywhere you go.

    The solution is simple to anyone that has given it some thought... When people are driving like idiots around you, and following too close, remove your foot from the gas pedal, and let your car slow to a crawl. This sends a very clear message to anyone who is behind you, and even if they don't back-off right away, they're much less likely to do it again. In addition, it provides greater safety for you, as the small distance between you and the car behind you becomes a safe following distance when you are only going 10MPH or so.

    When someone cuts you off, or is otherwise driving like an idiot, trying to get in-front of you, simply turn on your bright lights, and place your hand on the horn. Continue both until this person is no longer in-front of you. This has not only discourages people from doing such stupid things in the future, it has the added benefit of telling any police in the area exactly which vehicle deserves to be ticketed the most, and they usually oblige (even moreso when you also stop and give the officer a detailed acount of what you saw, and contact information in the event it goes to court).

    It's likely other people will notice what you are doing, and do the same when they are in the same situation. However, that is not required. After following these rules for just a few months, you will personally have made a huge difference in your local traffic patterns. Yes, when you personally discourage a handful of idiots, the effect spreads. Other people don't see idiots doing such stupid things anymore, so they also don't think of doing them. It's a snowball effect.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lucidwray (300955) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:56AM (#11217125)
    Lets not glance over the fact that this highway is a privately funded TOLL ROAD. This article seems to skim right over that fact.

    financed mostly if not entirely with private money

    What that means boys and girls is that our b@$t@%d Governor Rick Perry is being backed by a very large group of construction companies (Cintra) and has 'selected' a proposal that will net him the most brownie points with a large company after he leaves office.

    The cooperation with the State of Texas just means that now the state can use its power to deems the land it needs as 'Blighted Land' and take control of it much easier with less court battles.

    Im not sure how many slashdotters have recently taken a drive down I-35 from Dallas to San Antonio (the path this highway will parallel) , but it is a perfectly normal highway, only congested at 5:00pm in San Antonio and Dallas. 'Urban Gridlock' is not the reason to build 350 miles of new highway across Texas. (build bypass highways that 'bypass' the urban areas (all two of them)).

    A drive from Oklahoma to Mexico down I-35 goes alot like this:
    3 hours of 80mph boredom, 10 mins of city 65mph traffic, 4 hours of 80mph boredom, 10 mins of city 65mph traffic,5 hours of 80mph boredom, 10 mins of city 65mph traffic,Mexico.

    This is nothing more than a megacorp trying to make a buck over the next 50 years. (Not that there's anything wrong with that). But the State of Texas doesn't have a whole lot to do with this other than personal politics.
  • by innerweb (721995) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @04:06AM (#11217160)
    The data provided is interesting, but not useful in the context provided. Sure, on those roads (with what traffic density?), a small drop in the fatality rate occured. What other events or changes happened at the same time (weather, cars being used, ...)? Is it possible that this shows nothing other than some people do not pay attention to what they are doing unless they feel they are at risk somehow (driving fast)? Does this demonstrate that the roads were suddenly less travelled as others were more afraid of driving on them?

    Just like marketing that shows two out of three dentists use brand A, incomplete numbers are not real as research is not completely valid if the environment it draws from is not studied completely.

    This goes with the researcher at Harvard who concluded that Milk potentially reduces the chances of diabetes by studying two groups of kids. One drank more milk and one drank much less to none. The more milk drinking group had less diabetes than the less milk drinking group. But, in the research, there was no reference to what the less milk drinking group was drinking. Maybe water, you think? Probably not, probably heavily sugared drinks (but, we will never know since the researcher did not bother to find out). By neglecting this important aspect of his/her research, the information is not useful. All it suggests is that something that was different between the two groups contributed to diabetes in the less milk drinking group. It does not demonstrate that drinking milk potentially prevents diabetes any more than the numbers from Montana demonstrate that a lack of speed limit prevents or lowers fatal accidents.

    InnerWeb

  • by innerweb (721995) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @04:27AM (#11217217)
    What I really see here is a way for companies to use emminent domain to pull a railroad robber baron move. The government has a right to grab citizens' land for its use if it provides compensation that is appropriate....

    I am uncertain that this idea of grabbing the land and then allowing a company to basically make the profits from these displaced inviduals land is a healthy step in the right direction. True, modern roads are paved by private contractors in most cases (that I am aware of), but they do not own the land, nor can private enterprise restrict access to the lands grabbed by the government for the public's use (AKAIK - please correct me if you know of any examples otherwise). I am not certain if the land for toll roads has been grabbed the same way as this suggests. And that 50 year contract is way over the top! About 45 years over the top.

    If the company really wants to make this happen and they are wanting to do this with private enterprise, then the company needs to be the one that convinces the landowners to move or give up land (by providing truthfuly appropriate compensation) and the company should not turn to the state for anything but zoning approval (or other required approvals to build and maintain this system.) It could be a great thing to have a large transport system like this, but... One must always be careful of what doors one opens for potential abuse, as they are very hard to close.

    In all fairness, if this proceeds, then the people whose land is being grabbed definately deserve a stake in the company that is to derive the profits from the current landowners' land. In truth, this probably ought not happen the way it is being thought up in the first place.

    InnerWeb

  • Texas Arithmetic (Score:4, Insightful)

    by serutan (259622) <snoopdougNO@SPAMgeekazon.com> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @05:24AM (#11217381) Homepage
    cost:
    $175 billion over 50 years

    "could" return:
    $130 billion over 50 years (plus the nebulous "could generate new business")

    So obviously this is a good thing.
  • by dougmc (70836) <dougmc+slashdot@frenzied.us> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @06:29AM (#11217548) Homepage
    where's an Alaskan when you need one?
    Dunno ... perhaps Alaska?

    In any event, I live in Texas now, and grew up in Alaksa. Do I count?

    Alaskans like to say how you could split Alaska up in two, and make Texas the *third* biggest state ...

    Of course, unlike Alaska, in Texas, you actually drive places. I lived 15 years in Anchorage, Alaska, and never once made it to the second biggest city in the state, Fairbanks, even though it's only 200 miles away. But yet, after living in Austin, Texas for 20 years, I've driven to Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, San Antonio, Mexico, Oklahoma, Arizona and beyond.

    Driving from city to city is just a much bigger thing in Texas than Alaska. Sure, people do drive around the state in Alaska, of course. But not anywhere near as often as they do it in Texas.

    Texas could definately benefit from some huge roads like they're proposing. Of course, the government is becoming toll-road-happy lately -- for example they want to make many of the existing major roads in Austin into toll roads. Needless to say, we're not happy about this ...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @07:12AM (#11217646)
    straight out of texas. where else. The rest of the world is cutting back on greenhouse gasses, fuel consumption, exhaust gasses etc and the texans are (as are a lot of the americans) building a superhighway to take more traffic and more gas guzzlin (petrol drinkin for the rest of us) SUV's.
    The idea is good, it just lacks the right stuff in the right places - the high speed commuter link, the freight capacity and the infrastructure is cunning, but 7 lane superhighways! in this modern world there should be: high speed commuter (train) links freight lines (train) 2 or 3 freight lanes and then one or two (tolled) car lanes. Emphasis should be placed on the HIGH SPEED train lines, efficient, fast and run like only the swiss and japanese seem to be able too.
    It would be refreshing to see the americans come up with new transport infrastructures that dont place central focus on 7 lanes of cars cruising at 3 MPG (an old fasioned british measure of fuel economy - whats that i hear you cry). With that kind of money why not install a high speed rail network, carrying frieght safely through this "central coridor" swiftly and effectivly, with routes running out like branches off a tree to all the major cities, criss crossing the states with central arteries and ofshoots. With the left over money a High speed train line could be installed, to allow people to move fast, safely and in comfort.
    If people like driving then surly they like driving down scenic roads, not stuck in the middle of 1/2 mile wide concrete jungle with trucks down both sides and not a sight of fresh air. Bring on the continental (European) winding roads, curving through the mountains and hills, with pretty villages and chateux's nestling in wine producing valleys. If you need to travel down this "Superhighway" surly you would be far happier traveling in comfort on a train (with a view of somthing other than trucks) with a socket to power your laptop, buffet car and space to get up and walk around. If their getting a spanish company in surely someone there can see how it should be done - they are mainland europe afterall, although then again they build big roads paid for by the EU (funded by taxpayers accross europe).
  • by aking137 (266199) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @07:34AM (#11217690)
    I'll no doubt get modded down to a (-1, Flamebait) for daring to suggest that the future may not be as rosy as we all wish, but have the relevant people taken peak oil [peakoil.net] into consideration when making such plans? It just seems a little ill thought out to be building new roads on such a scale if they aren't going to be of much use in another 15-20 years time.

    See 1 [oilcrash.com] 2 [runningonempty.org] 3 [oildepletion.org] 4 [hubbertpeak.com] 5 [odac-info.org] or just Google for peak oil [google.com].
  • by dotwaffle (610149) <slashdot@walst e r . o rg> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @08:07AM (#11217783) Homepage
    Quote: Umm... we want to create 4,000 miles of terrorist in Texas target for... what reason, exactly?

    Remark: This is the exact fscking reason why most Brits hate (and I mean HATE) America (not necessarily Americans, we actually like Americans, just really can't stand the country's politics). You want to build a 4000 mile long road that would solve your traffic issues (if you managed somehow to increase the capacity of the exits) and instead of complaining about real issues like how other towns would suffer because of less traffic, and the MASSIVE environmental concerns, you decide to look at... THE TERRORISM ASPECT??? FOR FSCKS SAKE!

    Ok, let's pretend I'm Al Qaida. I (or rather, we) want to do most damage to America that I/We can. So we attack a couple of buildings. Kill a couple thousand people. Everybody scared. For this reason they're exactly the same as people like Timothy McVeigh (or however he spells it). What was pure genius (and I don't support them, but this was a brilliant plan) is that they actually got the American people to worry. To sacrifice their own dreams because of terrorism. Everything now has to be thought of now as a potential terrorist target, that you are at war with some very illusive people that may strike at any time. RUBBISH!

    Here in the UK, we've been the subject of terror-attacks for the best part of 40 years, with the whole Northern Ireland thing. We don't care about Al Qaida or the IRA or whoever else. We just get on with it (mostly, there are a few jerks out there) and build our millenium domes, our Space Museums, our Olympic bids, our whatever. Sure, we're making ourselves targets, but the fact is that we are not going to be disuaded by some ponce who hates our way of live. We are living our lives, and there's not a lot that can be done to prevent us from doing that. Weapons of Mass Destruction? Weapons of Mass Distraction more like. Notice that in Iraq, the American's get the vast majority of the blame for being insurgents, the British and other countries there are fairly immune to that rap. Not just because there are less of us, but because we respect them, we do our best to accomodate, to leave them alone when we can. Someday, you'll see things our way. The way a lot of your own country do. Let US stand for United States of America, not Unfriendly States of Afraid.

    And finally, just to re-iterate. I don't hate Americans, I just can't stand the way you do business :( Or your Government, but then again, ours is not much better - less business, more laziness.
  • Marvellous (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MrDalliard (130400) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @08:15AM (#11217803) Homepage
    Say, what a lovely, environmentally sound idea. In fact, why don't we just tarmac the entire state?

    When the US is considering building quarter-mile wide highways, it really is no surprise they're dragging their heels on the Kyoto agreement. It would have been more radical and forward thinking to spend the money on a state of the art public transportation system, but not to worry, I'm sure you'll learn - eventually.

    M.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by winwar (114053) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @08:22AM (#11217827)
    "If the new super highway is planned and executed correctly (i.e. limited development along the route, avoid passing directly through urban areas, etc.), it could do a lot to help traffic problems in the cities."

    It won't happen. EVER. Building more roads will eventually lead to more traffic. Period. Sure, it may help in the short term.

    But, how do you prevent development along the route? If it is an ideal travel route, then it would be good to have warehouses/industrial areas. Okay, need exits. More exits mean more businesses (more profit if toll road....) Those businesses need employees. Build houses (or people commute). More businesses to cater to employees (gas stations, stores, restaurants....). Pretty soon you have a city around each exit.

    Well, now we have congestion around those exits, need new exits (private businesses rarely have problems getting them if they can get the money....) Rinse, lather, repeat.

    If you build a convenient route, you will get growth. The only way to prevent it, is to reduce its usefulness. A rather large catch-22....
  • by vidnet (580068) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @08:25AM (#11217838) Homepage
    The focus seems to be commerce rather than quality of life.

    In the USA?! *gasp*

  • by NeoSkandranon (515696) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @10:43AM (#11218505)
    When you are the source of an accident due to your slowing down a lane of highway traffic, the state trooper on the scene is not going to be amused by your reasoning. That goes double if the highway happens to have a min. speed limit posted
  • Trains (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wonkavader (605434) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @10:56AM (#11218610)
    I can see the NAFTA trade angle. But a highway isn't the solution, not without a lot of cost on individual self-propelled transport containers (ie. TRUCKS) . The solution is clearly rail. Intermodal transportation (http://www.robl.w1.com/Transport/intermod.htm [w1.com]) is vastly cheaper than the archaic system these guys are suggesting. Containers come on trucks, then go on via train. When they get near an urban center for delivery, they get put on a truck body.

    Much less labor, much less fuel consumption. Much less cost for individual carrier equipment. (Can someone else comment on the cost of rail vs. highway maintenance?)

    If this is a way to make NAFTA better for everyone, they need to scrap the highway (or at least scale it back to very little) and run rails. If it's a way to generate tariffs on transport, well, rails do that, too.

    But they wouldn't need 175 billion dollars for it. If they want to spend that kind of money, they should think about running rail lines through Texas (using some of the rails already there), building over and underpasses for existing rails in and around cities all over the country, running lines around cities to avoid marshalling yards (with their speed restrictions) and building efficient Intermodal systems in smaller towns (there are already such systems in the big ones).

    But that would just mean investing in a rail company instead of press-releasing and creating a whole new way of thinking about roads, etc.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:25PM (#11219415)
    Actually, federal highways heavily subsidize the trucking industry. Semis do *FAR* more damage to roads than passenger cars, and they pay little extra for doing us this "service".
    I advocate making it illegal for semis to use the interstates during rush hours.
    I also advocate moving AWAY from using semis for interstate hauling. (The first step of this above).
  • by llefler (184847) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:52PM (#11219691)
    After following those simple rules, you will be dead and no longer a problem on the highways.

    When people are driving like idiots around you, and following too close, remove your foot from the gas pedal, and let your car slow to a crawl.

    This encourages them to follow even closer. I have seen people driving the speed limit (70mph) on I-29 get tailgated by someone wanting to drive 80+. When the tailgator gets irritated, they move in, sometimes as close as 6 inches. Short of a dead stop, there is no way to make that a safe following distance.

    When someone cuts you off, or is otherwise driving like an idiot, trying to get in-front of you, simply turn on your bright lights, and place your hand on the horn.

    This will encourage road rage. Most likely followed by them slamming on their brakes. Thus silencing the horn and extinguishing those bright lights. And possibly you too.

    And there won't be any tickets until after the accident, the reason they do these things is because there are no cops around.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TFGeditor (737839) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:37PM (#11220123) Homepage
    Amen and halleluja! I am sick to death of paying exhorbitant taxes to pay for the indoctrination (not "education" anymore) of other parent's kids. I worked may ass off (still do), bought property, built a house, paid for it, and then the government punishes me by taxing my ass off. I am sick of property taxes and income taxes. The only fair tax is a sales tax. Offtopic? I do not see how, considering all preceding comments. Nonethless, I bet a post hole against a panful of cornbread it gets modded so. We'll see.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Snowdog668 (227784) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:03PM (#11220388) Homepage
    "Well, keep it reasonable...and for God's sake, cut the toll when the project was done...Once paid for..they should go away."

    That's what they told us in Illinois all those decades ago. The tolls were going to be temporary. I live about 15 miles from the Wisconsin border and it currently costs me $2 just in tolls to get there and back. .25 each to get on and off the tollway, .75 each way at the toll just south of the border. In addition, tomorrow the tolls double as part of the plan to force everyone onto IPass. If you go onto IPass tolls stay at their current level, prepare to pay double if you don't. What do we get for it? One of the worst highway systems in the country (Illinois was rated in the bottom five states by the American Trucker Magazine annual survey the last time I checked, a couple of years ago).

    Believe me, once government gets their mitts on a tax it never goes away.

  • Re:Soooo... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by igny (716218) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:11PM (#11221037) Homepage Journal
    Have you been to Alaska?
  • by nojomofo (123944) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @04:24PM (#11221762) Homepage

    I've hit cars doing stupid shit like you propose. I've had cars hit me BECAUSE someone did stupid shit like you propose. Just get out of the fucking way and let everyone past you, rather than try to decide how everyone else should drive.

    No, troll, you're the problem. You hit them because YOU WERE TAILGATING. If you were following a safe distance behind, YOU WOULDN'T HAVE HIT THEM. What if they'd had to slam on their brakes because something was in the lane? You would have hit them. If you rear-end somebody, it is almost always your fault (the only exception that I can think of is if you were just cut off). He has to be able to slow down. If you rear-end him when he just takes his foot off of the gas, what do you think is going to happen if he actually uses his brakes? If other people hit you because you had to slow down, well, that's unfortunate and it's the fault of the person who hit you, not the person in front of you who slowed down, too. Maybe you should have been traveling further behind the car in front of you so that you didn't have to hit the brakes so hard.

    And about the "just get out of the way" comment. If I'm moving 75 in the right-hand lane, and some jackass is in my trunk, how the hell do I get out of the way? You're right that people should be more aware of the speed of the lane that they're in, but there are lots of people out there who think that they should be able to drive 100 MPH in whatever lane they want, and other people need to get out of their way.

  • Re:Speedy Limit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grunherz (447840) on Friday December 31, 2004 @02:21PM (#11228937)
    No kidding it's encouraged. It's even in the traffic law books now in most states. And that's the problem. There is no unified traffic law for North America like there is for a lot of the world.

    Just because it's vaguely referred to as the law in a few states and you like it doesn't mean it's the best way to control traffic flow or that it isn't controversial.

    It's a chaotic way for traffic to flow.

    For traffic to flow efficiently, being able to accurately predict what another driver is probably going to do helps keep traffic safe. The middle lane travel lane with two passing options doesn't do this. Add to the fact that most North American drivers forgot that their cars are equipped with turn-signals makes this even worse.

    I haven't been misinformed. I've just seen places where this rule would be considered insane and actually prefer to drive there.

    When there are few exits and fast moving traffic keeping right, is the best way to keep traffic flow moving and avoiding confusion.

    Too many times have I seen traffic bunched up in the left two lanes because there's a line of people squatting in the middle lane because people who learned how to drive correctly won't, with good reason, pass on the right.

    I think this is just another relaxation of the rules to allow incompetent drivers a better environment to drive in at the expense of efficiency.

    The USA.

    Lowest common denominator wins again.

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