Math Quiz: If a Train Leaves New Brunswick Traveling 160 Miles Per Hour…

By John R Parkinson

May 9, 2011 4:33pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@jrpabcdc) reports: 

Pop quiz, hot shot: If Train A travels 160 miles per hour for 24 miles and Train B travels the same stretch of track at 130 miles per hour, how much longer does it take Train B to finish the route? 

I haven’t had a math class in a while, but by my calculations it takes nine minutes for Train A to travel that distance and just over 11 minutes for Train B to travel the same distance. So the difference is the 160 MPH train can cut just over two minutes on a stretch of track that’s 24 miles long. 

That math puzzle is a real-world example of the benefits created by a $450 million project to improve railway infrastructure in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between New Brunswick and Trenton, NJ – one of many high speed rail projects announced today by the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

Two minutes or 120 seconds — almost $4 million on the taxpayers’ dime per second saved for passengers making the commute on this stretch of track. 

Rep. Bill Pascrell, who represents a district in New Jersey now on the receiving end of some of the funding, said that despite advances in communication “nothing has surpassed the quality of face-to-face interaction when it comes to getting down to business” and praised the project for “helping everyone maximize their commercial potential.” 

“The work announced today is a significant upgrade, and is the kind of investment New Jersey needs the most with a stronger, faster, and more consistent Northeast Corridor,” Pascrell, D-New Jersey, said. “Improving our railways will help create local jobs today, reduce congestion, and help foster our prosperity for generations to come.” 

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration selected 15 states and Amtrak to receive $2.02 billion for 22 high-speed intercity passenger rail projects. Originally the money had been allocated in the stimulus bill to the state of Florida for high speed rail, but the funds were rejected by Republican Governor Rick Scott. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also represents a district cashing in on an award today, including $368 million for high-speed and intercity rail in California — $300 million for the Central Valley segment and $68 million for state-of-the-art passenger rail equipment. 

“While other states may ignore the benefits of high-speed rail, California is ready to put investments to work immediately, building our statewide system – creating jobs, boosting domestic manufacturing and laying the track for long-term economic development,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “By investing in our state’s infrastructure, we increase mobility options and lower our dependence on foreign oil at a time of rising gas prices, while reducing road congestion and preserving the air we breathe.”

They’re not the only projects Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today that are aimed at cutting down the daily commute of rail passengers. According to DOT, a $404.1 million project to expand high-speed rail service to 110-mph track between Detroit and Chicago will save rail commuters 30 minutes in travel time while creating almost 1,000 new jobs during the construction phase.

“These projects will put thousands of Americans to work, save hundreds of thousands of hours for American travelers every year, and boost U.S. manufacturing by investing hundreds of millions of dollars in next-generation, American-made locomotives and railcars," LaHood said. “The investments we’re making today will help states across the country create jobs, spur economic development and boost manufacturing in their communities.”

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