25 April 2008

Pro-Business Maoist and More

The Maoists recently won a plurality in the Nepalese election. Apparently they ran on a "pro-business" platform. Who knew? The Chinese have apparently re-engineered this whole communism thing when no one was looking. The Maoists also favor the radical, for 1848, position that hereditary absolute monarchies should be abolished in favor of monarchies. Maybe we should start subsidizing Maoist revolutions in the Middle East. China and the U.S. could find common cause in the interests of democracy and cheap oil.

Perhaps coincidentally, and perhaps not, here at Aviano's in Denver (between 9th and 10th on Lincoln), they are giving away free books about a woman's experiences in Nepal.

The masters of foam art at Aviano Coffee have my support, by the way, for their team in the 2008 Mountain Regional Barista Competition. If lumberjacks and sheep shearers can have competitions, why not baristas?

It has been a mostly good few weeks for rail. Continuing discussions of an idea to create a freight rail bypass for through traffic on the front range from Denver to Pueblo are moving forward. This is an excellent idea for multiple reasons. It reduces conflicts with urban traffic, it gets night train noise away from more people, and it makes it easier for commuter rail and freight rail to share tracks.

The Front Range Express Bus has proven that there is a market for Colorado Springs-Denver corridor public transportation for commuters, even at highway speeds (where speed limits are incidentally going up in the former T-Rex construction project corridor in exchange for tighter enforcement). If a rail solution could be faster, it would not only increase the size of the commuter rail market with existing commuters, but would also more tightly bind the entire I-25 corridor expanding job and housing opportunities for about three million people.

Meanwhile, the idea of requiring a $5 toll on I-70 in the mountains has crashed and burned, while a consensus is developing that part of any solution to the ski traffic choked stretch from Denver to Vail should include some form of improved passenger rail.

Alas, FasTracks may go even further over budget in the wake of rising costs.

Who would have thought in 1958 or so, that trains and windmills would be icons of the future half a century later?

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