POSTED: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - 2:49pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 8, 2010 - 9:45pm
EL PASO- All the rage in Europe, 'bullet' trains are being talked about more and more here in the U.S. Texas has its own plans for high-speed trains. But do those plans include El Paso?
Discussions at the state level about high-speed trains have included El Paso among possible hub cities.
We asked El Pasoans what they thought. Nearly everyone we spoke to said yes to high speed.
But State Representative Joe Pickett is quick to put on the brakes. He loves the idea, but says 'bullet' trains in the Sun City are more myth than reality.
"A higher speed rail from El Paso to Phoenix or El Paso to L.A., it's not really practical," he says.
It starts with a $40 million price tag on each mile of high-speed track. Money would have to come from state, federal, and private sources.
That's something Pickett says isn't easy to organize. Ticket prices would also have to compete with the airlines. Combined, the two form quite an obstacle.
"El Paso, again, we're ripe for a commuter-type system that would maybe connect us with cities in New Mexico," he says.
That's his alternative. A light rail that is designed to take commuters into El Paso. Pickett says it's easier to do since plans are already in place.
The Rail Runner system would run from Denver to El Paso. Its feasibility is being studied right now.
El Pasoans like the idea.
"We do need other forms of transportation here in the city other than the buses. So yeah, I would consider them," one man said.
So trains might be rolling into El Paso soon, though not as fast as some would like.