The 'dog'

While it's not so far-fetched to imagine a car-free urban infrastructure, finding realistic ways to reduce our dependence on the automobile in rural areas is a much more challenging proposition. Amtrak operates a handful of transcontinental routes, but to get most places in rural America without a car, you've either got to hitchhike or take the Greyhound.
I have only my ignorance of Montana geography to blame for my most recent travails on the "Dog." When I sat down to purchase my plane ticket to Montana, I vaguely remembered my cousin telling me that the nearest airports to where she lived were Missoula, Butte and some other Montana town that started with the letter "b." I couldn't find Aa cheap ticket departing Butte, so I bought a ticket from Billings, not realizing that Bozeman is a few hundred miles east of Butte on the I-90, and Billings is a few hundred more.
In order to make it to my 2 p.m. flight departure, I had to catch the red-eye Greyhound. The station was locked and deserted when my cousin and I arrived at midnight. Half an hour late, a nearly empty Greyhound pulled into the station. The two other passengers both appeared to be small-town teenage refugees; the one near the front of the bus wearing an impressive mohawk and a scull and crossbones leather jacket that looked like it�d been recently purchased at Hot Topic.
I took off my shoes and wedged my head under the armrest, hoping to get a little rest, waking again as we pulled into a rest stop. The driver got out and smoked a cigarette under the yellow light of a dust-bitten gas station. I couldn�t see another light or building anywhere on the horizon. He got back on and the four of us and the giant bus rolled on down the I-90.
Obama's new proposal for building America's high-speed rail network will increase ground mobility between our major metropolises, but for the vast majority of small towns in America non-auto transportation options will remain severely limited. Would an increase in the cost of oil create incentives for a return to small scale agriculture and a repopulation of these rural communities? And if so, with the Interstate system as our only connector, how will we retain transnational mobility?

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