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United States News

The Super Superhighway 1005

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

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:51AM (#11216151) Homepage
    The left lane is always the fastest. So chances are very good to have a dedicted "high-speed" lane at the far left side. As long as your car is in good shape, the road is flat/strait, and good weather; driving at 100MPH should not be a problem for most.

    Note: driving 70 to 80 is not uncommon in the Houston area. But if your driving 75Mph and a COP drives by, then you know your driving to slow.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:52AM (#11216154)
    I thought GW was a Massachusetts boy who moved south? A Pseudo-Texan, if you will.
  • Re:Traffic jams? (Score:5, Informative)

    by josh3736 ( 745265 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:52AM (#11216166) Homepage
    Turnpike rest areas (or "service centers" or whatever) are already like malls. On Ohio's turnpike, you get everything from the Burger King, Starbuck's and gift shops.

    In terms of the traffic, there are 2 possible outcomes: The highway will sit almost completely unused [google.com] or it will be a giant parking lot as everyone uses this megaroad to get wherever they're going.

  • Re:Fine and Dandy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Staplerh ( 806722 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:53AM (#11216168) Homepage
    From the article:

    Officials promise property owners will be fairly compensated for any land seized.

    I suppose they would seize them? Of course, it'd be a lot of different property owners to deal with, rather than just a few farmers.

    Interesting that there is a capacity to seize land, especially in the United States where the right to property seems so enshrined in your constitution? I'll have to look into this further.
  • Humm (Score:2, Informative)

    by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:58AM (#11216207)
    In John Keegan's "Fields of Battles", a military history of wars in North America, he talks about coming to the United States in the 1950s for the first time and how refreshing it was to be in a place as big as the United States and have it be a single culture. From the Northeast to the South to the Great Plains, he says, there are some differences, but you knew it was a unified culture by how much alike everything is.
  • Re:Fine and Dandy (Score:5, Informative)

    by BurritoWarrior ( 90481 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @12:58AM (#11216209)
    Interesting that there is a capacity to seize land, especially in the United States where the right to property seems so enshrined in your constitution? I'll have to look into this further.

    Two words: eminent domain.

  • Re:Soooo... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ranger96 ( 452365 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:00AM (#11216221)
    The main problem with Interstate 35 here in Texas (which is currently the main highway from Mexico north through Texas) is that it passes directly through San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas/Fort Worth, and all of the surrounding suburban sprawl. The Interstate has doubled as a high volume artery through all of these urban areas, with massive amounts of development surrounding them. Over many years, and accelerating rapidly post-NAFTA, the amount of truck traffic on I35 has caused (or at least been a major contributor to) gridlock in the urban areas.

    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. Also, from the conceptual pictures I've seen, it will be safer for both passenger vehicles and trucks, because they will be running on separate sets of lanes with their own entrance/exit ramps, etc.
  • Some more details... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mbourgon ( 186257 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:02AM (#11216236) Homepage
    I read an article about it last week.

    Cintra is ponying up all the money for this project. The State of Texas will pay nothing. And gets the ability to take over tolls in 50 years.

    It will go south, around the east side of Dallas, and around the east side of Austin.

    Tolls are expected to be about what current tolls are, which means (according to the Star Telegram, at least) to drive the whole thing will cost about $40. Seems like a lot, but it isn't - truck drivers have to routinely sit in Dallas/Fort Worth traffic, which probably costs an hour's worth of time. Same with Austin.

    I don't particularly feel sorry for the small towns - usually, the town builds up around the road, and once they have several hundred people, drop the speed limit to 45 while going through their town. Thanks, guys. Not.

    Oh, and the speed limit's supposed to be 85.

    I'm really looking forward to it. For those of you who think this is minor, it's not. The drive from Mexico to Oklahoma is probably 10 hours - DFW is about an hour south from Oklahoma, 3 hours from Austin, and probably 8 from the border. Yes, Texas is big.
  • by Serk ( 17156 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:11AM (#11216298) Homepage
    I just learned about this from the Slashdot story, and I'm a Texan right in the path of this monstrosity...
    A little Googling around and I found that those opposed to this thing have also organized, and can be found at http://www.corridorwatch.org
    I haven't 100% made my mind up on this yet, but the fact that it's a toll road REALLY leaves a bad taste in my mouth, all the new roads being built around here are toll now, and that's a major annoyance of mine.

    Anyway, I found that site describing the opposing viewpoint, and figured I'd pass it on...
  • Re:Speedy Limit (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:17AM (#11216345)
    It looks like the speed limit will be 80 mph [corridorwatch.com].
  • Re:Fine and Dandy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zapman ( 2662 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:20AM (#11216365)
    The right to property isn't in the Constitution, but it is in the Declaration of Independance. In the Bill of Rights, the fifth ammendment has this:

    "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

    Basically, the Founding Fathers knew that people would claim land that the Government would find too useful to pass up. So they put this piece into the Bill of Rights. This is called Eminent Domain. The government decides that it needs a piece of land, determines a fair value for it, and gives you the money, and you have to leave.

    Now, this is is probematic on occasion because 'Just Compensation" isn't defined in the constitution, and it is up to the government to decide what is 'just'. You (sometimes) can sue for more money, but it's a real challenge in the courts.

    Eminent Domain is something that governments need. The problem is balance.
  • Re:Why? (Score:2, Informative)

    by flashgc ( 781735 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:34AM (#11216455) Homepage
    First thought.... Texas has several East-West corridors so a North-South corridor would naturally cross them and form a commercial hotspot at each intersection, not to mention the intersections that happen nearest to population centers. We've recently experienced a similar situation (on a much smaller scale) here in http://www.gribblenation.com/ncpics/oceanhwy/ecity .html [gribblenation.com]Elizabeth City, NC. Now that the connector to the bypass is open, all sorts of commercial enterprises are lining up to place themselves at that intersection.
  • by putaro ( 235078 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @01:51AM (#11216550) Journal
    Ummmm...hello? Have you read "The Roads Must Roll"? The road Heinlein described was a suped-up conveyor belt, not a roadway.
  • I was involved with the 91 Express Lanes [91expresslanes.com], the first toll road in the world that was fully automated (no toll booths) and privately financed.

    It was a good project -- neither the state nor the county had funds to improve one of the single most congested segments of freeway in the country, and there were no good alternate routes. There was, however, a median, which a private company leased from the state for a nominal fee. They built toll lanes on their own nickel (well, Wall Street bond buyers' nickels) and opened for business. The deal, as they're proposing in Texas, was for the road to be privately run for 30 years and then turned over to the state, which would be able to continue to charge tolls.

    The road's been open for less than a decade and although it's been a big success in terms added traffic capacity, there are some lessons no one expected:

    • No franchise agreement is so bulletproof that it can survive long-term, organized political pressure. Today, the Express Lanes are owned by the regional transportation authority. Why? Because politicians didn't like the fact that they didn't own the road and couldn't use it as a political football. So, a region that didn't have money to build it in the first place found the money to create a new ownership entity and buy the road back from its private-sector owners. (Who made a nice profit along the way.)
    • There's huge market potential for "open sourcing" traffic and tolling models. No company is going to pursue a project like the Texas one -- or even the merely $125 million Express Lanes effort -- by simply opening up their own pocketbook. Most of the money comes from bonds sold against future toll revenues, and the buyers of those bonds want rock-solid tolling and revenue estimates. Several companies do this, but even the best ones (like these guys [wilbursmith.com] make spectacularly expensive mistakes AND get away with using proprietary, "black-box" methodologies. Wall Street is always going to like expensive consultants; if some academics, geeks and economists could provide an open model that Wall Street could test against, there would be money to be made -- and fewer mistakes.
    • There are years and years when things can get easily fsck'd up before construction ever starts. Once you get a road like this open, everyone loves it -- even people who swear they'll never use it benefit because the new facility takes traffic off of existing roads. But long before you get to that point, it's not an exaggeraton to say that every neighborhood group, ambitious city council member or lawyer looking for tort income will come after you.

  • by Anubis350 ( 772791 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:19AM (#11216669)
    perhaps we should be considering better mass transit instead of finding new ways to allow people to drive their gas-guzzling SUVs around? I live in NYC and most people take the subway unless they absolutely have to drive (particulary in manhattan, no-one wants to drive in manhattan). It much more efficient than building more roads, pollutes less, etc. Many people here don't own crs (my grandmother and grandfather didnt for example). The answer to all this traffic isnt more raods, its more and better mass transit.

    for those of you who havent had the forune of seeing a truly good mass transit system in action, let me put it this way: There is pretty much no-where in NYC that one cant get to on the train, 2 bucks will get you anywhere in the city, and you dont have the stress of sitting in traffic. Oh, and the subway's open 24/7/365 so no need to worry about not being able to get home. For the few places that the subway isnt useful, there are the buses, still more eficient than cars. For getting out to long island there's the LIRR and for upstate there's metro-north. The path and NJTransit connect in NJ. So yeah, more public transportation, not more cars.
  • by Insanity ( 26758 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:47AM (#11216812)
    So speed kills, and anyone arguing against it is WRONG. No, I don't think I'm WRONG. I won't go so far as to say you're wrong, but rather, I'll state that you've failed to consider the circumstances and made an inappropriate generalization.

    Speed doesn't kill, excessive speed does. Since we're talking about highways here, the factors that determine what constitues excessive speed are: weather conditions, heavy traffic (because drivers don't maintain safe distances), roads with turn radiuses and banking angles that aren't designed for speed, poor road maintanence, and poor vehicle condition or design.

    Texas is basically always hot and sunny, so weather is out. The highway will obviously be designed and maintained for safe high-speed use. Traffic shouldn't be bad if the road has adequate capacity. Let's hope it does; there is an unfortunate tendency to design highways for today's traffic loads, completely neglecting the inevitable population growth in a region.

    The only valid point you make is that American vehicle design is suboptimal for high speed driving. Aerodynamics really start to matter above 60mph or so, and your average SUV has a profile somewhat like a brick. Some cars and trucks aren't geared well for highway driving, and have to operate at ridiculously high RPM at high speed. I think this is the main reason for the poor fuel economy you mentioned. Older cars simply vibrate and make a lot of noise. These factors are probably why high speed driving is "stressful," combined with the fact that it takes a little getting used to. American auto makers, and even some American-tuned imports, don't inspire a lot of confidence.

    All that said, I've never sat in a car that didn't do 85 comfortably. Even the cheapest cars only start to get sketchy at 90 or so.
  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Megane ( 129182 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:53AM (#11216847) Homepage
    Because thanks to NAFTA, I-35 is bursting at the seams, especially in Austin. And with the exception of one three-mile section currently under construction, it is now at least six lanes wide all the way from south of San Antonio to far north of Austin, well over 100 miles. That's why the first section of this is already under construction, as a bypass toll road around Austin.
  • CorridorWatch.org (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:34AM (#11217044)
    http://corridorwatch.org/ [corridorwatch.org]
  • Re:Speedy Limit (Score:5, Informative)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @03:46AM (#11217093) Journal
    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?

    There are many reasons.

    The land rights upon which the freeway rests is still actually owned by the government.

    A speed limit is a safety issue, which doesn't start or stop on public 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.

    Bull. Far too many people have NO idea where criminal law ends, and civil law starts. Even if it was privately-owned land, that doesn't mean laws broken on it are civil, rather than criminal. Shoplifting happens on private property, and involving private property, but it's still a criminal offense. Police have raided the homes of Cable-Modem uncappers, and arrested them on criminal charges. Don't pretend to be a lawyer, when you don't know what you are talking about.
  • by mandalayx ( 674042 ) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @04:51AM (#11217281) Journal
    Actually transportation is a need that government fills even more essentially than schools. And if better transportation routes save Texans an hour a day; even a year, then the economic benefit is tremendous.

    And if the road is cost-neutral to government (capital, yes, operating, probably not), and will give the public good things, then what's the problem?

    As an aside, I looked at it as being really stupid at first but I wonder how the rail will be handled. If it is handled well (and toll roads are good because they charge people for the costs they incur) then this could be Very Interesting in a good way.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dr. Sigmund Freud ( 759331 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @05:19AM (#11217362)

    ...avoid passing directly through urban areas...

    It would be good to divert some of the traffic on I-35 (E and W through DFW, Austin, and San Antonio). But for the TTC to succeed, connection to current activity centers have to be provided. Here's why.

    The TTC (TransTexas Corridor) was first proposed by Gov. "Good-hair" Rick Perry in the spring of 2002. Since then, TxDOT has funded a number of studies at TTI (the A&M transportation wing), CTR (the UT Austin transportation wing) and CTS (the UT Arlington transportation wing) re. the TTC. Here are some very interesting quotes from a document from one such study (the report is under review for publication?):


    There are a couple of reasons why high-speed freight systems may be non-starters for the TTC.

    First, the current generation of high-speed rail and maglev systems are not designed to handle bulky freight (the tracks are not designed to sustain the forces created by heavy freight without deviating from their strict tolerance, and the power requirements to move heavy freight at high speeds makes the system prohibitively expensive.)

    Second, new markets may emerge in the future that would stimulate the demand for high-speed freight service, but currently in Texas there does not appear to be a mass market for such a service. Significantly, both BNSF and UP currently seem to prefer to "wait-and-evaluate" before venturing into the high-speed freight business.

    The TransTexas Corridor (TTC) is a timely initiative that can help alleviate mobility, and congestion issues of the future. However, the planning, alignment and design of such a system has to be approached with caution. If certain underlying principles are ignored, and future interactions of the existing transportation system with the new system not incorporated at the planning stage, the new system will create more problems than it is likely to solve.

    First, if the TTC does not provide direct and fast connections between existing centers of activities, there will be very few initial users who would be willing to pay a toll and travel along the TTC. After all, why would a user pay a toll to travel to and from places where there are no trip attractions or productions? This will likely result in much lower initial revenues from tolls, and impede the development of new activity centers along the TTC.

    Second, when the new centers of activity do eventually develop along the TTC, they will certainly start to interact with the old (existing) centers of activity in our urban areas. If there are no proactively planned connections between the new and old centers of activities, it is highly likely that the existing transportation infrastructure will not be able to serve the future demands placed on it, leading to unintended congestion and loss of mobility.

    One of the philosophical goals of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) was to end the modal fragmentation of transportation in the US. The practical goal was to provide seamless connectivity between different modes. This was the vision of intermodal transportation. ISTEA also introduced the concept of multimodal transportation, which required that travelers be provided a choice between at least two modes of transportation to get to their destination.

    With its combination of high-speed mass transportation (rail or maglev) and highway corridors, the TTC does well in terms of multimodalism.

    However, by not providing direct links to the hubs of other modes of transportation, i.e., connections to airports and urban transit services, the current proposed alignment of the TTC gets a failing grade on the intermodal scorecard.

    The airline industry (particularly American, Continental, and Southwest Airlines) should be encouraged to become partners in the high-speed mass transportation of passen

  • Re:Fine and Dandy (Score:5, Informative)

    by MickLinux ( 579158 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @06:17AM (#11217520) Journal
    From what I've seen of Harrisonburg, VA, when they were building the Justice building, the formula for "just compensation" is actually rather easy.

    When the city has 3 times the parking it will need in the next 20 years, and city council members have just contracted to sell more empty lots to the city as parking, and the purchase price was $15,000: just compensation is $120k. When the property is a thriving restaurant located in hte heart of downtown (specifically the Old Virginia Ham Cafe, now nonexistant), and the replacement/relocation cost runs about $250k, just compensation is $10k.

    This is the essence of emminent domain, as far as I can tell: I take what you have in the name of my power. In practical application, it doesn't sound to me any different than carjacking.

  • How it works (Score:4, Informative)

    by MickLinux ( 579158 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @06:22AM (#11217528) Journal
    I think they'd run it the way the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel is run. That is, you first contract with the state for the rights, and for jurisdiction of a special court district.

    Once you have done that, then you have legal jurisdiction though no highway.

    Then, you put out bonds, just as any city does (there's your private investment). Once the bonds are out, then you build the highway. Finally, you set up toll gates or whatnot to pay back the money to the investors.

    Along the way (for the CBBT) as I remember, the CBBT did default on its bonds, making them technically worthless for about 3 years, but let the investors know "do not part with these, because we're going to repay them." After something like 3 years, they had managed to restructure their debt, and went back to full repayment. Finally, they paid everything off, and then within 5 years were back building another lane.

    Current cost per 17-mile trip? $8.50 per vehicle axle. People still find it to be worthwhile, because it cuts out 350 miles of round trip. However, I'm not so sure that the same could be said for a mega highway.

  • Re:Speedy Limit (Score:3, Informative)

    by drawfour ( 791912 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @06:40AM (#11217566)
    If you read the state law codes, you will likely find that speed limits are enforced on PUBLIC roads. That posted speed limits are for PUBLIC roads and highways.

    In my state (Washington), all laws use the word "highway". The legal defintion of "highway" is: "Highway means the entire width between the boundary lines of every way publicly maintained when any part thereof is open to the use of the public for purposes of vehicular travel." This is RCW 46.04.197 [wa.gov]. Please note the wording. It's the entire width between the boundary lines of every way PUBLICLY MAINTAINED when any part is open to the public for vehicular travel. It must be publicly maintained _and_ open to the public for vehicular travel. If it's privately owned and operated, it's likely privately maintained too. That means it does not fall under jurisdiction of Washington State vehicle laws.

    Furthermore, your assertion that speeds are a safety issue are actually quite irrelevant. There exist private tracks specifically for racing cars. If speed limits were a safety issue, then why aren't these tracks closed down?
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Dr. Hok ( 702268 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @08:20AM (#11217817)
    Wow...you have your facts all wrong...

    OK, his facts are wrong, but the numbers are right:
    Texas = 268,601 sq. miles
    France = 543 965 km^2
    Germany = 357 023 km^2

  • Re:Soooo... (Score:2, Informative)

    by dna_(c)(tm)(r) ( 618003 ) on Thursday December 30, 2004 @08:22AM (#11217828)
    not true
    texas: [worldatlas.com]695673 km2 (268,601 sq miles)
    france: [worldfacts.us]547030 km2
    germany: [worldfacts.us] 357 021 km2
    Just one way to classify them, by surface area ;-). I know where to find the best cheese, wine, food- where to drive the fastest and where to find ZZ Top
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:4, Informative)

    by CreatureComfort ( 741652 ) * on Thursday December 30, 2004 @11:24AM (#11218856)

    Actually it all depends on the initial planning. The whole point to the current design is to drastically limit the number of connecting ramps. The current design calls for designated rest-gas stops that only have access on and off the freeway lanes, no connections for local traffic, and ramps leading to other, existing freeways for access into the current commercial and industrial centers. Basically it would come up on the west side of say, DFW and to actually go into the metroplex, you would have to exit onto IH-20 or IH-30 to then get into town.

  • I can only assume by your comment that you disagree with the poster. You actually beleive terrorism is something we should really be concerned about...
    You're thousands of times more likely to be killed in a car accident than by a foreign terrorist.
    You're tens of thousands of times more likely to be killed by preventable disease than a foreign terrorist.
    You are thousands of times more likely to be murdered by a common criminal than killed by foreign terrorism.
    Here in the US, you're more likely to be killed by lightning, falling off your roof, the flu, tripping on the sidewalk, just about anything you can think of that regularly kills people is more dangerous that foreign terrorists.
    Yet when someone points out how ridiculous it is that we US citizens spend all this money to avoid the tiny risk of terrorism, you take it personally? Sometimes the truth hurts, suck it up.
    Bottom line, if you live in the US and are honestly concerned about terrorism, you're either a coward or a fool. Take your pick.
  • Re:Soooo... (Score:3, Informative)

    by LPetrazickis ( 557952 ) <leo DOT petr+slashdot AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @02:17PM (#11220525) Homepage Journal
    Russia straddles both continents. The dividing line goes through the Ural mountains. Most of the population is on the European side.

    Now, whether the relationship between Russia and Europe is more akin to Macedonia and Greece or Epirus and Greece is your business.
  • by KMSelf ( 361 ) <karsten@linuxmafia.com> on Thursday December 30, 2004 @05:29PM (#11222292) Homepage

    Fresh fruit and produce probably does move by truck (and you pay for it), but your boxed and canned goods move by rail. Spoilage in Del Monte tomato sauce is pretty low. There's a running joke about oatmeal running by slurry pipe (well, in some circles....).

    Basically, you've got a hierarchy of shipping rates, most to least expensive being air, expedited ground (FedEx, UPS), local drayage, long-haul trucking, rail, barge, bulk maritime, and pipeline. The difference in cost very marked. The slower methods are best suited to bulk goods where it doesn't particularly matter what specific item you get, just how much (crude oil, grain, coal, lumber).

    Costs are based on both fuel and labor costs. Rail crews run about 6 per train (IIRC), a 110 unit train can carry 400+ 40' containers (more in "SixPac" and related specialized configurations). The same load on trucks requires 200 drivers. A barge equals about 15 rail cars or 60 trucks. And a large container ship will handle thousands of containers. Comparative fuel requirements: 1 gallon gets you about 60 ton-miles by truck, 200 ton-miles by train, and 515 ton-miles by barge. Source [tamu.edu].

    That link includes a calculator so you can compare fuel costs. Assuming 1000 tons, 1000 miles, and $1.50/gal fuel costs. truck works out to $25,338, rail to $7,426, barge to $2,918. That excludes labor and capital costs, as well as insurance (cost of covering damaged shipments is a considerable expense).

    In the early 1990s, Mid-Western droughts lead to historically low water levels on the Mississippi. One consequence was a tremendous increase in rail traffic as loads which would once have moved by barge went by rail. Great if you were a railroad, not so good for shippers and farmer.

    The big development of the past three decades has been "intermodal" transport. Shipping containers to you and me. A container is filled at the factory in China, trucked to a rail point, trained to a shipyard, shipped to a US port, railed to a local delivery point, and trucked to local destination.

    In practice, runs of < 300 miles tend to be cost-effective for truck, anything more, rail, and if a navigable waterway exists, ship.

    Last I looked into it (about 15 years back) there were expedited intermodal cross-country tarrifs for 7-14 day delivery. Perhaps not "JIT", but useful for those who figure a rolling warehouse is useful (and railroads had to fight for years to get their boxcars back on time). Did a college research paper on the Japanese fresh broccoli market. That was crop from Salinas Valley, California, via refrigerated intermodal transport, to Japan, across 8,000 miles of ocean, in 14 days. Feasibly. Pretty impressive.

    Not a railroader, but I've known a few pretty well.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?