North American Supergrid
Located within the right-of-way of the Transamerica Corridor would be the backbone of the North American Supergrid. That backbone would consist of an underground direct current transmission system that will transmit electricity long distances with minimal power loss.
The North American Supergrid would be a multinodal, high-voltage direct-current transmission pipeline that would begin in California and transmit power to the east coast. Such a corridor would eventually:
- Create between 650,000 and 930,000 jobs yearly across the entire energy sector. A high percentage of those jobs would go to economically depressed rural areas, with preference being given to retrain coal miners and other who are displaced from their jobs by new technology.
- The North American Supergrid, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory, would achieve roughly an 80% reduction in power-sector carbon emissions, relative to 1990 levels.
- The North American Supergrid would connect the three existing above-ground regional networks to permit sale of electrical power through all parts of the country.
- The North American Supergrid would protect the current grid from severe weather and solar storms, as well as cyber and electromagnetic attacks.
Electrical power companies and their supporting organizations should be able to provide the majority of the funding for such a project.
High-Speed Freight Rail
Huge investments have been made on the Panama Canal while ignoring a better path for transportation within the Continental United States. The Panama Canal is vulnerable to government political changes, unreasonable increases in transit charges, as well as attack from nations with bad motives, thus affecting dramatically the ability to transport goods and services and military forces throughout the Continental United States.
No significant investment has been made for new east/west rail corridors since the late 19th Century. The development of the high-speed freight rail corridor would provide needed safety within the Continental United States and would provide protection in the event of international complications. High speed freight rail would also benefit from European style tunneling under the major mountain ranges throughout the Continental United States.
21st Century Highway Corridor
The new high-speed I-66 corridor would provide several important features for the 21st Century.
- With the advent of driverless trucks, it would allow the highway to be used heavily at night with truck transportation traffic.
- Foster the transition of fossil fuels to electric power generated by solar and wind sources.
- Relieve substantial traffic from other existing interstate routes. For example, a Washington University study by Dr. Lonnie Haefner outlined a more than 30% reduction in traffic on I-40 and I-70, thus allowing those corridors to be safely redeveloped in the future.
- Incorporate new technologies into the 65-year old interstate system. They include:
- Tunnels under the Sierra, Rocky, and Appalachian Mountain ranges, increasing the flow and safety for transportation of goods and people.
- Providing significant acreage for truck and automobile recharging stations along with amenities for resting drivers and passengers.
- The “New Mother Road,” I-66, would close the 300 to 400 mile gap in the east-west interstate system caused by low levels of import and export traffic due to World War II. Those initial corridors were designed for 8% truck traffic and now carry more than 40%.
Natural Gas Pipeline
The natural gas pipeline in the corridor will allow for the construction of natural gas power generation units to be located in areas of minimal carbon footprint, thus insuring the integrity of the supply of electrical power while at the same time reducing dramatically the environmental effect on areas of heavy concentrations.
Water and Other Resource Pipeline
A water pipeline in the corridor would allow water to be moved to areas of the country that are in desperate need and would allow commercial farming to coexist with the burgeoning population growth in large portions of the Western United States.
Broadband or other such pipelines could also be established within the corridor, serving the needs across the country.
Such pipelines could be powered by solar and wind power with natural gas backup and would leave an extremely small carbon footprint. In many ways, such a pipeline would allow Midwestern interests to trade water for wind and solar power energy which will dramatically lower their costs as well as the carbon footprint of the region.
Connecting Country and Globe
Since the last major infrastructure program was developed, the increase in imports and exports has been dramatic. For example, since the establishment of diplomatic ties with China 34 years ago, two-way trade in goods has increased 198-fold. China is now the fastest-growing export market for the U.S., and the U.S. is the second-largest trading partner of China after the European Union. In just six years bilateral trade has surged from $267.6 billion to $500 billion.
U.S. ports such as the port located in Los Angeles/Long Beach are at or near capacity with a real danger of losing freight and jobs to Mexico unless new solutions can be found.
Providing a 21st Century Solution
Without question, the 21st Century will call for major changes in our infrastructure needs. The Transamerica Corridor is the foundation and the beginning of the answer to those needs. It incorporates five major elements, including high speed freight rail, intelligent highway design, an electrical transmission pipeline, utilizing green technologies, natural gas pipeline, and a water pipeline to serve arid areas of the Southwestern United States.