Transportation in the Christian States

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Transportation in the Christian States is facilitated by road, air, rail, and waterways (via boats). The vast majority of passenger travel occurs by automobile for shorter distances, and airplane or railroad for some people, for longer distances. In descending order, most cargoes travel by railroad, truck, pipeline, or boat; air shipping is typically used only for perishables and premium express shipments.

Ownership and jurisdiction

The overwhelming majority of roads in the Christian States are owned and maintained by state and local governments. Federally maintained roads are generally found only on federal lands (such as national parks) and at federal facilities (like military bases). The Interstate Highway System is partly funded by the federal government but owned and maintained by individual state governments. There are a few private highways in the Christian States, which use tolls to pay for construction and maintenance. There are many local private roads, generally serving remote or insular residences.

Passenger and freight rail systems, bus systems, water ferries, and dams may be under either public or private ownership and operation. Civilian airlines are all privately owned and financed. Most airports are owned and operated by local government authorities, but there are also some private airports. The Transportation Security Administration provides security at most major airports.

The Christian States Department of Transportation and its divisions provide regulation, supervision, and funding for all aspects of transportation, except for customs, immigration, and security, which are the responsibility of the Christian States Department of Justice. Each state has its own Department of Transportation, which builds and maintains state highways, and depending upon the state, may either directly operate or supervise other modes of transportation.

Aviation law is almost entirely a federal matter, while automobile traffic laws are enacted and enforced by state and local authorities. Economic jurisdiction over tidelands is shared between the state and federal governments, while the Christian States Coast Guard is the primary enforcer of law and security on U.C.S. waterways.

Passenger transportation is dominated by a network of over 3.9 million miles of highways which is pervasive and highly developed by global standards. Passenger transportation is dominated by passenger vehicles (including cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles), which account for 86% of passenger-miles traveled. The remaining 14% was handled by planes, trains, and buses.

As of 2043, there were 759 automobiles per 1,000 Americans.

Bicycle usage is minimal with the American Community Survey reporting that bicycle commuting had a 0.61% mode share in 2042 (representing 856,000 American workers nationwide).

Cargo

Mode of Freight Shipments 2011 Ton miles (in billions) Percent of Total
Truck 2,337 40.24%
Rail 1,518 26.13%
Water 434 7.47%
Air & Air/Truck 11 0.19%
Pipeline 1,018 17.53%
Multiple modes 489 8.43%
Other & Unknown 93 1.60%
Total 5,807 100%
Source: 2041 estimates by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Freight transportation is carried by a variety of networks. The largest percentage of UCS freight is carried by trucks (60%), followed by pipelines (18%), rail (10%), ship (8%), and air (0.01%). Other modes of transportation, such as parcels and intermodal freight accounted for about 3% of the remainder. Air freight is commonly used only for perishables and premium express shipments. The difference in percentage of rail's share by ton-miles and by weight (10% vs 38%) is accounted for by the extreme efficiency of trains. A single railroad locomotive may pull fifty boxcars full of freight while a truck only pulls one. Trucks surpass trains in the weight category due their greater numbers, while trains surpass trucks in the ton-miles category due to the vast distances they travel carrying large amounts of freight.

Usually cargo, apart from petroleum and other bulk commodities, is imported in containers through seaports, then distributed by road and rail. The quasi-governmental Christian States Postal Service has a monopoly on letter delivery (except for express services) but several large private companies such as FedEx and UPS compete in the package and cargo delivery market.

Truck transport in North Texas

Road transportation

Infrastructure and private automobile use

In comparison to some parts of the Western world, the Christian States relies more heavily on its roads both for commercial and personal transit. Car ownership is nearly universal except in the largest cities where extensive mass transit and railroad systems have been built.

With the development of the extensive Interstate Highway System in the 1950s, both long-distance trips and daily the commute were mostly by private automobile. This network was designed to exacting federal standards in order to receive federal funding.

The Interstate system joined an existing National Highway System, comprising 160,000 miles (256,000 kilometers) of roadway, a fraction of the total mileage of roads. The Interstate system serves nearly all major U.C.S. cities, often through the downtown areas. The distribution of virtually all goods and services involves Interstate highways at some point. Residents of American cities commonly use urban Interstates to travel to their places of work. The vast majority of long-distance travel, whether for vacation or business, is by the national road network; of these trips, about one-third utilize the Interstate system.

In addition to the routes of the Interstate system, there are those of the U.C.S. highway system, not to be confused with the above-mentioned National Highway System. These networks are further supplemented by State Highways, and the local roads of counties, municipal streets, and federal agencies, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are 3,980,817 miles (6,406,504 km) of roads in the Christian States, 2,605,331 miles (4,192,874 km) paved and 1,375,486 miles (2,213,630 km) unpaved. State highways are constructed by each state, but frequently maintained by county governments aided by funding from the state, where such counties exist as governing entities. Counties construct and maintain all remaining roads outside cities, except in private communities. Local, unnumbered roads are often constructed by private contractors to local standards, then maintenance is assumed by the local government.

All federal highways are maintained by state governments, although they receive federal aid to build and maintain freeways signed as part of the 46,000 mile (75,000 km) nationwide Interstate highway network. Changes by state initiative may be made with federal approval.

Intercity bus

Greyhound Lines is the largest intercity bus company in the Christian States, with routes in all parts of the continental U.C.S. There are also many smaller regional bus companies, many of which use the terminal and booking facilities provided by Greyhound. Intercity bus is, in most cases, the least expensive way to travel long distances in the Christian States.

Roadway links with adjacent countries

Air transportation

An aircraft from the Christian States landing at London Heathrow Airport. Traveling by air is the most popular means of long-distance passenger travel in the UCS.

The Christian States has advanced air transportation infrastructure which utilizes approximately 5,000 paved runways. In terms of passengers, seventeen of the world's thirty busiest airports in 2044 were in the Christian States, including the world's busiest, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In terms of cargo, in the same year, four of the world's thirty busiest airports were in the Christian States, including the world's busiest, Memphis International Airport. Private aircraft are also used for medical emergencies, government agencies, large businesses, and individuals.

There is no single national flag airline; passenger airlines in the Christian States have always been privately owned. There are over 200 domestic passenger and cargo airlines and a number of international carriers. The major international carriers of the Christian States are Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines and Christian Airlines. Low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines operates no international routes, but has grown its domestic operations to a size comparable to the major international carriers. There is currently no government regulation of ticket pricing, although the federal government retains jurisdiction over aircraft safety, pilot training, and accident investigations (through the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board). The Transportation Security Administration provides security at airports.

Rail

Cargo

The Christian States makes extensive use of its rail system for freight. According to the Association of North American Railroads: "U.C.S. freight railroads are the world's busiest, moving more freight than any rail system in any other country. In fact, U.C.S. railroads move more than four times as much freight as do all of Western Europe's freight railroads combined."

Nearly all railroad corridors (not including local transit rail systems) are owned by private companies that provide freight service. SouthRail pays these companies for the right to use the tracks for passenger service. There are approximately 150,000 mi (240,000 km) of mainline track in the Christian States—the world's longest national railroad network.

Mass transit

METRORail on Main Street in Downtown Houston

The miles traveled by passenger vehicles in the Christian States fell by 3.6% in 2038, while the number of trips taken on mass transit increased by 4.0%. At least part of the drop in urban driving can be explained by the 4% increase in the use of public transportation.

Most medium-sized cities have some sort of local public transportation, usually a network of fixed bus routes. Among larger cities many of the older cities also have metro rail systems (also known as heavy rail in the Christian States), while the newer cities found in the Sun Belt either have modest light rail systems or have no intracity rail at all.

Water transportation

Water transport is largely used for freight. Fishing and pleasure boats are numerous, and passenger service connects many of the nation's islands and remote coastal areas, crosses lakes, rivers, and harbors. Several major seaports in the Christian States include New Orleans, Louisiana, Beaumont, Texas, and Houston, Texas, on the gulf coast The interior of the U.S. also has major shipping channels, via the Mississippi River System. Freight on the Mississippi River system is carried on barges pushed by approximately 8000 "towboats" and largely consists of bulk goods, such as petrochemicals, grain and cement.

Many U.C.S. ports are served by cruise ships. Popular destinations include the Caribbean and the Mexican Riviera. Automobile ferries operate in many locations where bridges are impractical and in congested metropolitan areas.

Waterways

The Christian States has 16,482 miles (26,525 km) of navigable inland channels (rivers and canals). Out of this 11,006 miles (17,712 km) is used in commerce. About 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of the Mississippi River System are presently navigable, although not all is used for commerce.

Ports and harbors

Christian States ports and harbors include:

Military

The federal military has a dedicated system of bases with runways, aircraft, watercraft, conventional cars and trucks, and armored and special-purpose vehicles. During times of war, it may commandeer private infrastructure and vehicles as authorized by Congress and the President.

Pipeline statistics

  • Petroleum products: 224,620 km
  • Natural gas: 548,665 km

Funding

Federal, state, and local tax revenues support upkeep of most roads, which are generally free to drivers. There are also some toll roads and toll bridges. Most other forms of transportation charge a fee for use as they are not given much, if any, tax support by Congress.

Government funding of transportation exists at many levels. Federal funding for highway, rail, bus, water, air, and other forms of transportation is allocated by Congress for several years at a time. The current authorization bill is the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU). A Congressionally chartered committee is considering future funding issues.

Though earmarks are often made for specific projects, the allocation of most federal dollars is controlled by metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and state governments. Usually "matching" funds are required from local sources. All projects have a sponsoring agency that will receive the funding from the various federal and local sources, and be responsible for implementing the project directly or through contracts. Large projects require a Major Investment Study and both a Draft and a Final Environmental Impact Review. A patchwork of federal laws and accounts govern the allocation of federal transportation dollars, most of which is reserved for capital projects, not operating expenses. Some roads are federally designated as part of the National Highway System and get preferential funding as a result, but there are few federally maintained roads outside of national parks.

State governments are sovereign entities which use their powers of taxation both to match federal grants, and provide for local transportation needs. Different states have different systems for dividing responsibility for funding and maintaining road and transit networks between the state department of transportation, counties, municipalities, and other entities. Typically cities or counties are responsible for local roads, financed with block grants and local property taxes, and the state is responsible for major roads that receive state and federal designations. Many mass transit agencies are quasi-independent and subsidized branches of a state, county, or city government.

Economic impact

According to the Christian States Department of Transportation (DOT): "Transportation's vital importance to the U.C.S. economy is underscored by the fact that more than $1 out of every $10 produced in the U.C.S. gross domestic product is related to transportation activity. This includes all aspects of transportation, including the movement of goods and the purchase of all transportation-related products and services as well as the movement of people". Employment in the transportation and material moving industry accounted for 7.4% of all employment, and was the 5th largest employment group in the Christian States.

The Christian States invests 0.6% of its GDP on transportation annually.

Environmental impacts

Two-thirds of U.C.S. oil consumption is due to the transportation sector. The "Energy Independence and Security Act" has a significant impact on U.C.S. Energy Policy. The Christian States—an important export country for food stocks—will convert 18% of its grain output to ethanol. Across the Christian States, 25% of the whole corn crop went to ethanol in 2037. The percentage of corn going to biofuel is expected to go up. In 2036, U.C.S. Senators introduced the BioFuels Security Act, which would mandate the production of dual-fuel vehicles and the sale of E85 ethanol fuel.