Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Obama's big transport plan and what it means for travelers

United States president Barack Obama called on the US Congress earlier this week to approve a $50 billion (€39.4 billion) infrastructure improvement program which could dramatically improve the lives of travelers in and to the US.

Obama laid out a plan to rebuild some 150,000 miles (241,400 km) of roads, construct 4,000 miles (6,440 km) of rail and reconstruct or repair 150 miles (241 km) of runway, along with a new air traffic control system.

If approved, the six-year plan will see large-scale repair and expansion of roads and bridges, modernizing the highway system, which the White House described as the "backbone of our transportation system."

It will also make major investments in bus and rail transit, supporting local communities to create their own transit projects, topping up current investment in high-speed rail and overhauling the Amtrak fleet.

Most tangibly for travelers, Obama endorsed the NextGen system of air traffic control, which would see a movement from ground-based radar to satellite-based surveillance of aircraft.

The updated system would allow more accurate routing of aircraft, placing them closer together to reduce delays and creating more precise routings to airports that can reduce noise for residents and decrease fuel used, making flights greener.

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