High speed rail: Getting Texas on track

If enthusiasm were dollars, high speed rail would be zooming across in Texas.
There has been no shortage of advocates ready to envision and mock-up plans for fast passenger trains in the Lone Star state, starting back in the energy-crisis years of the 1970s and building steam throughout the 1980s when a group called the Texas Railroad Transportation Company (TRTC) devised a plan for the “Texas Triangle,” a 750-mile train route connecting Dallas/Fort Worth to San Antonio and Houston.

Ethanol: Jobs and politics trump good sense?

The EPA’s decision to increase the allowable percentage of ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent has ignited a fiery debate among America’s mega-industrial interests. Watching the Titans queue up on their respective sides of this issue has been almost embarrassing; there are so many nakedly exposed agendas and odd alliances.
What’s not so amusing are the serious environmental consequences of both the production and combustion of ethanol. But first let’s sort out the teammates.

Trim college costs: Buy a car share membership

No one sends a kid to college without escaping a raft of sacred duties. There’s the requisite group reading of course offerings, the ceremonial first check writing, the buying of the coordinated bedding and the securing of a vehicle in which the newly minted young adult is launched full throttle into his or her post-secondary education experience.

But this last carbon intensive practice has never been economical, especially for young men whose insurance rates can jackhammer through mom and dad’s bank account faster than tuition fees.

More and more, people are questioning whether wheels are even necessary on campus. Many colleges can’t accommodate all those parking needs, and even on gigantic state school campuses students don’t need to drive from class to class. Often a young adult mainly needs a car to return home on weekends or holidays, a transportation need easily solved by Greyhound or Amtrak. For those occasional excursions when a car is called for, the new answer is car sharing