Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Corridor Across The States (CATS)

High-speed Boston-LA superhighway
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The largest civil engineering project since the Pyramids. A travel corridor across the nation, linking several cities along the way, with 6 to 8 lane divided highway and a twin MagLev trackset in the median. Revenue is generated to retire the massive debt from many sources: special licensing for the No Speed Limit roadway (couple of hundred per year), enhanced inspection for any vehicle to use the road (about $200/year) tolls, and sales of special GPS/communication devices that all vehicles MUST carry for tracking purposes.

Cars and drivers must be certified and pay tolls to access this "American Autobahn." Also, high-speed MagLev train service will take you from Boston to LA in just 15 hours, with the goal to rival commercial airline service.

Economically, this would not only generate and drive new industries, but would also provide opportunities along the route (fuel, service, amusement, dining, lodging.)

There will also be copious rest areas with WiFi and rest room services to make it the most advanced and comfortable highway on Earth. With safety patrols and strict lane enforcement, it may also be the safest.

Silence, Feb 05 2008

try Rt. 50...no one goes the speed limit anyway http://www.route50.com/
[xandram, Feb 05 2008]

Real_20Corridor_20across_20the_20States [hippo, Feb 07 2008]


       I'm skeptical as to the net job creation of superhighways. I think those cities and states that were geographically unlucky would take a serious hit, just like the many ghost towns that died when the original bypasses went through.   

       I'm also put off by the recent snobbery of the coastlines as of late with regards to the nation's interior, but that's another ax to grind altogether.   

       Whatever you do, keep Boston's construction crews away from it.
RayfordSteele, Feb 05 2008

       This would also be an industry unto itself. The biggest obstacle after its creation would be for it to remain independent...the fees stay with it and develop the roadway/trainway further. I think the MagLev would be as attractive as the road for a lot of travelers, especially families.   

       No references to the Big Dig are allowed!
Silence, Feb 05 2008

       So Route 80, except you sub LA for San Francisco and Boston for NYC?   

       Delaware Watergap would be a bitch. You can't shut it off to other traffic. So what are you going over the existing road? Tunnel thru the Appalachians? That works for the train, but not for the cars.   

       I'm sure the Rockies are even more fun. What another tunnel?   

       Bring new business along the route? Why would they stop? The only time you'd stop would be at the major cities or to get gas. If there were no speed limits on the highway, the train would fail economically. Sorry (-).   

       The only people who would benefit would be European automakers selling cars designed to travel at ludicrous speeds.
MisterQED, Feb 05 2008

       If it were even remotely easy to get the rights-of-way, something like this would already exist. The hardest part of firing up the maglev supertrains is finding track routes straight enough for them to run on, not the technology itself.   

       Apart from that, yeah, good idea - if it (massive public work efforts) worked for Hitler, it should work for us.
DrCurry, Feb 05 2008


       Sp.: useful
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 05 2008

       Sadly there is one way this could happen, and that is the recession we are about to hit is worse than they think and we hit another Great Depression. I could see this as a later day massive public works project like the Hoover and Grand Coulee Dams. I'm interested to see if China does something like this. I've heard they already have better cell phone coverage, but who doesn't. Australia?   

       Anyway, wouldn't it make more sense to run the coasts? Boston to go south to Jacksonville and then west to LA? It's much flatter.
MisterQED, Feb 05 2008

       I thought this was going to be a system of borders made from an edifice of felines. Bone.   

       Haha... but seriously, America should do a lot of stupendous things with all it's money. We should just give it up. Let's turn it into roads and restrooms and let everyone just waste their time scouring the great land for an ever dwindling sense of freedom.   

       Hey, what would the toll have to be, to say, give investors ten years to break even? I'm guessing you would require far more drivers than are willing to comply, but if I'm wrong then go for it!
daseva, Feb 05 2008

       Such a huge road would be economically impractical where that many lanes aren't really needed. It would also be a huge migratory animal impediment.   

       A bullet train network would be nice, but there's no need for more highways.
RayfordSteele, Feb 05 2008

       I was imagining a trick whereby Mexican immigrants surreptitiously shown a tunnel under the Rio Grande find themselves emerging in Canada... or perhaps vice versa.
pertinax, Feb 06 2008

       I second [Maxwell] - if you're going to pour all that concrete, don't load it up with cars. Load the cars onto trains and send the trains, trucks, people, mail and damn near everything else. And they don't even need to be maglev. Conventional tech runs very nicely at over three times the speed limit. That's coast to coast in what, 24 hours? Not shabby.
elhigh, Feb 06 2008

       I completely agree. Keep the trains, dump the road. As much as love them cars are killing us. Train cars are 9'6" wide so they will fit a Smart car. Have other car companies come out with new cars that are only that long. Get 20 on each train car stacked two high.
MisterQED, Feb 06 2008

       I agree about losing the highway part. We've already got an interstate highway system that is too fast and boring for civilized travel, and that has pretty much killed a lot of towns. (Dead serious recommendation here: Take a drive through America without getting on the interstates, sometime.) Put the automobiles on the trains, as was said.   

       I agree with [MisterQED] again. Run the route down along the East Coast before heading westward. It'd pick up a lot more major cities, and avoid mountains, for only a few more miles of distance. It's all flat from Atlanta, Georgia, to El Paso, Texas, then not so bad into San Diego, California. Then go up the coast.
baconbrain, Feb 06 2008

       [MisterQED] - taking the trip from TN to Wash. DC to visit parents, US Hwy 11 parallels much of I-81; you can hop off the Interstate almost anywhere and take the "scenic back roads." Except US 11 used to be a major highway.   

       I've done as much as two hundred miles of that 550-mile trip on that road; it costs me about two extra hours, but the experience is much more engaging.
elhigh, Feb 07 2008

       Once upon a time, I worked north of I-80 but lived south of it. Finding a place where I could cross with a bicycle cost me a 9 mile detour, twice a day. I hate to think...
lurch, Feb 07 2008

       This "Corridor across the States" should actually be a corridor, like you might find in a typical office building with blueish-grey carpet tiles and neon striplights. Dead straight, from Boston to LA, every five miles there would be an armchair to sit down in, next to a little table with dull business magazines on, every 100 yards there would be a potted plant which needs watering in a pot on the floor, every mile there would be a vending machine or a watercooler, every 200 yards there would be a strange coffee-coloured stain on the carpet, every 500 yards there would be a door marked "Toilet". Major cities would be announced by a plain door in the wall marked with the name of the city - you'd go through the door (marked "Denver" or "Las Vegas", for example) and it would open into a bus station providing a shuttle bus into the heart of the city.
hippo, Feb 07 2008

       And you'd be required to ignore all on-coming foot traffic until such time as the person is about four feet away from you, at which time you look up, make a tiny moment's eye contact, mutter something interrogatively inflected ("Alright?"), and look down, feeling something akin to embarrassment.
calum, Feb 07 2008

       Build it on stilts, so that it looks from elsewhere than actually driving on it, like a Victorian seaside pier thrusting endlessly West. That'll sort the animals/crossing problems with minimum of fuss.
calum, Feb 07 2008

       Hmmm - this is kind of a divergent train of thought to the main idea, so I've separated it (see link). Feel free to move your annotations if you wish.
hippo, Feb 07 2008


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