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6. The problem of good after-flight transportation is part of the greater problem of moving large numbers of people from one place to another rapidly, at frequent intervals, and at a reasonable price. Only now are some of the cities beginning to face this problem realistically. Certainly it cannot be solved by building more and more freeways for more and more cars for which there will be no place to park. But in too many rapid transit studies the planners have overlooked a fact which has long been evident to our public utility companies. Gas and electric lines have been profitable in areas of relatively thin population because there was a major customer nearby. Many homes today have natural gas because a large industrial consumer made it profitable to run a gas main. The same principle would apply in many mass transit problems. Thousands of people use our large metropolitan airports. Large numbers of them make the trip each day. In some cities these people would provide sufficient volume to make one rapid transit line self-sufficient. This would enable the line to make extensions without great cost. It should be possible to have good rapid transit service from many of our densely populated areas, running high-speed trains at frequent intervals. By train passengers could cruise at eighty or a hundred miles an hour instead of twenty or thirty. Ground travel that presently consumes an hour need take but ten or fifteen minutes. And service could be closely integrated with flight schedule. Of course rapid transit facilities are expensive. But they are far less costly than some of the alternatives upon which we have embarked. It has been speculated that that the Washington International Airport not been constructed, the money that will be spend there could have converted Friendship Airport into a magnificent facility. With the millions that would have been saved, two rapid transit lines could have been constructed; one that would take passengers to Baltimore in six minutes, and another that would take them to Washington in twelve, or to the Pentagon in fifteen. It is highly probably that within this generation we will see great improvements in the helicopter and in other types of commuter planes. It may well be that they will solve the passenger's problem once his long-range jet reaches it destination. On the other hand, ground transportation today is so slow and congested that we can not long postpone its untangling. There is not lack of technical ability to construct good rapid transit facilities. Their cost would be far less than the presently available alternatives. With high speed, frequent mass transportation facilities, an airport's geographical proximity to a city will become less important. Many of the problems of nuisance and noise can thus be well handeled. And our airports can begin to serve the nation in optimum fashion.
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