Truly Rapid Transit

Paris-Region-Grand-Huit1

While our friends on the right keeping yelling about how backwards, unsafe and unfreedom it is to not sit in your car alone and imbibe talk radio, our friends on the Right Bank are doing something other than idling on the way to work.

Yet the Réseau Primaire de Transport du Grand Paris (primary transport network of greater Paris) may be coming to life. This week, the government opened public debate on the project, revealing the extensive studies it has completed on potential alignments for the rail corridors, including proposed station sites. And the Sarkozy Administration has committed to €4 billion to the Société du Grand Paris, the semi-autonomous organization that will build the project and invest in eight major development sites that will have prime access to the network.

If the program is approved, the Société would take on 40 years of debt financing to sponsor the €21.4-23.5 cost, to be paid back mostly through deals made on real estate in station areas.

The project would encompass 155 km (96 miles) of new lines that would be added to the existing automated 5.5-mile Line 14 Metro that currently runs along a southeast-northwest route through Paris. Three routes would be offered: a 50 km Blue Line from Orly Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport, via the existing Line 14; a 75 km Green Line from Orly Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport, via the La Défense financial district west of Paris (with 21 km shared with the Blue Line); and a 60 km Red Line from La Défense to Le Bourget Airport, via the southern and eastern suburbs. Commute times for suburban residents hoping to reach destinations outside of Paris will be decreased significantly, with average train speeds a very respectable 40 mph thanks to few stations (give or take 40, depending on the final alignment chosen) and very high frequencies thanks to automation. At peak hours on some segments, trains will arrived every 85 seconds.

As Atrios points out, this project will cost about three months of Afghanistan, plus you get the trains at the end. And less dead people, at least theoretically.

And though that hurts, it’s not the real kicker. No, the further insult here is the constant badgering by the craven morons standing guard against this kind of progress. To hear mass transit constantly demonized in the U.S., one might think that the idea of not getting everywhere by private car represents the end of civilization as we know it. Well, you know what? It would! And not a moment too soon. Something’s got to change. But this is precisely where our confederate republican brethren have drawn the line – in calling this kind of change exactly what it is and opposing it for that very reason.

Maddening. But speaking of remaining calm in the face of staggering idiocy, the neighborhood around the Chatelet stop is a nice area.

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