Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Modest Proposal

I used to work for an international construction firm that had a long standing relationship renovating auto factories for one of the big three in the country. One of the plants I worked on in our capacity as construction managers had been converted to make tanks during WWII, and another had made bombers in the same period.

So why is it we should just give money to Ford and GM? Why not take the same amount of money and have them re-tool a couple of their plants to make railroad cars and engines? And the company that makes their bucket seats could make comfortable passenger car seats. The stamping plants for engine parts could make train wheels or retool to make rails. This makes so much sense on so many levels government probably will not even consider it.

Level one is that big business always bemoans welfare to the poor. Don't they always say, "let them get jobs." Well, I think that applies to the big three. Can't sell cars because the poor are not working because we are in a recession then don't make cars. Make trains.

Due to the fuel crisis and our need to be more green and less dependent upon foreign oil more freight companies have been piggybacking their trailers between major cities rather than trucking them. As I reported in an early blog this has caused some issue with trains because of aging track and cars. We need more capacity to ship more stuff.

Our reliance on airplanes for travel is also silly. Planes really waste fuel. And the contrails from the number of planes in the skies at anyone time are believed to be increasing the effects of global warming. More of us need to take trains for those between town jaunts to visit Aunt Helen. And if the SUV could come with us on a specially built train car we would not need a rental car at our destination. Fifty cars riding on a train are not burning fuel wastefully and contributing to greenhouse gases like the same 50 cars on the interstate.

Transporting cars on trains for long distance travel also reduces wear and tear on our aging interstate system until much needed repairs of the infrastructure can be effected. Maybe we can use out-of-work United Auto Workers who will not compromise on their benefit packages. (Does this sound like CEO's and golden parachutes?)

So no bailout money for auto companies without a plan for them to produce something we can use. Let's make trains.