Rail is too expensive and logistically challenging to take the place of pipelines and support expanded tar sands production. Tar sands oil is some of the most expensive in the world to produce - and shipping crude by rail to the Gulf costs twice as much as by pipeline.
The good news is that we can change course -- well, that is if the politicians find the will to do so. They must stop the brinksmanship, reject destructive austerity budgets and start investing in a long-term plan.
As a former intern at the MTA, I have seen first-hand that the constant lack of funding and political pressure to cut costs are beginning to take their toll on the condition of critical infrastructure and rolling stock.
The U.S. cannot afford much more of this amateur-hour policymaking. The costs to our economy are too great. It is time for a bipartisan agreement to make the necessary long-term investments in transportation systems and infrastructure.