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“Soviet-Style” Rail Is Actually a Model of Productivity

10:37 AM EDT on July 10, 2013

Representative John Mica really hates Amtrak. When he's editorializing against his favorite foe, as he did yesterday, he loves to bust out a zinger about how it's a "Soviet-style" operation.

But as Network blog Systemic Failure points out today, "Soviet" rail is actually a model of success:

If only Amtrak were as efficient as the Soviet railways! The Soviet Union is widely regarded as having one of the best railway systems in the world. The Moscow Metro is the most heavily used rapid-transit system outside Asia. And during the Soviet era, the post-war era saw a gigantic expansion of the national rail network.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the railway sector was privatized, and is now one of the biggest infrastructure companies in the world.

If congressional leaders have no familiarity with international examples of rail systems that work well, how will they ever improve the system in the United States?

Elsewhere on the Network today: Walkable Dallas Fort Worth takes a hard look at exactly how much Texas plans to spend battling congestion over the next few years. Bike Portland attempts to extract some lessons from the now-dead CRC highway megaproject. And Stop and Move says more cities need a pedestrian czar like Los Angeles.

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