Airline passengers can expect more delayed flights and longer delays as the U.S. economy recovers and airports get busier during coming months, the Brookings Institution warns in a report released Thursday.
Federal airport spending that is scattered across the United States would do more good for travelers everywhere if it were focused instead on increasing capacity at the most congested metropolitan airports, the report says.
And the Brookings report says the Obama administration's planned high-speed rail network has the potential to cut heavy traffic on air corridors of less than 500 miles. These short-haul corridors carry half the nation's flights, stress the air transit network and take the blame for a disproportionate share of airline pollution and fuel consumption.
North Carolina and Virginia are seeking a combined $7 billion in federal funds to complete a 500-mile corridor for trains that would average 86mph in trips between Charlotte and Washington, with stops including Greensboro, Raleigh and Richmond, Va.
The report from Brookings, a Washington think-tank, counts a combined 3 million passengers traveling between airports in those five cities.
Last year, Charlotte/Douglas International Airport served 925,000 Washington travelers, and 1.1 million Raleigh-Durham passengers traveled to or from Charlotte and Washington.
The Brookings report does not indicate how many of these passengers were catching connecting flights, but the volume suggests high-speed trains could do well, said Adie Tomer, a Brookings research analyst and co-author of the report.
"If we invest in rail, we want to do it right," Tomer said in an interview. "These passenger numbers point to a large amount of demand from Charlotte through to Washington."
Read more at NewsObserver.com