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High Speed Fail

The Central Planner intends on spending $53 billion of other people’s money to build toy trains.

President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion spending plan for high-speed rail, as he seeks to use infrastructure spending to jump-start job creation.

Obama’s push for high-speed rail spending is part of his broad goal of creating jobs in the short-term and increasing American competitiveness for the future through new funding for infrastructure, education and innovation. During last month’s State of the Union address, Obama said he wanted to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.

I was actually planning on penning a piece giving Obama a break when I opened Firefox to see that piece. I’ll write much more on what we know about high speed rail in the future, but I wanted it on the record that this action demonstrates rather clearly that Mr. Obama is listening to the wrong people. Did some of his advisers just get back from a Junket? Someone ought to hand the President a copy of this.

Glad to see that the President knows that 80% of us will want and need high speed rail in the next 25 years. I wonder how he came to that conclusion. For those of you not familiar with high speed rail, it is the ultimate white elephant. They do not ever make economic sense, and very rarely even make environmental sense, and in fact, do little to improve traffic conditions and can arguably make them worse. I am sure the President thoughtfully weighed all of that against the benefits of paying off American labor and getting a private thrill at taking a really fun fast train ride. My future posts will summarize a little of what we know about the costs and environmental impact of high speed rail.

4 Responses to “High Speed Fail”

  1. Mark Lipstein says:

    i simply can’t comprehend stupidity of this order. We have a rail system…it’s called Amtrak, it sucks, it has never operated at a profit since its inception during the Nixon administration, it has outrageous labor costs (there are still coalmen on the diesel trains), no one rides it, yet President Obama wants to steel hundreds of billions of dollars to create a sleek but inevitably catastrophically unprofitable system of transportation.

  2. Harry says:

    Before Amtrak we had the New York, New Haven, and Hartford, which went into bankruptcy providing cheap transportation into NYC, as did the high-speed LIRR, among others. SEPTA in Philadelphia is another success story, having inherited the Reading Railroad passenger business. Let’s just say that when the government gets involved in moving people, it is not pretty.

    Our East-German-inspired Dear Leader wants us to live in public housing within walking distance from the train platform. But we have a lot of that already, right?

  3. Harry says:

    Maybe Speedmaster, being the HTML expert ,can post a pic of Joe Biden and Ray LaHood on the platform at 30th Street Station. But Joe no longer takes the Metroliner from Wilmington.

    In North by Northwest Eva Marie Saint tells the police detective on the train that her conversation with Roger Thornhill that their conversation included such innocuous chat as train travel versus plane travel. And that was on the Twentieth Century Limited. I think Ray, Joe, and Barack missed that movie.

  4. Rod says:

    Back in the early 70’s, I used to ride the Metroliner every other week to New York from the above-mentioned 30th Street Station, and while it shortened the trip to the city by about 20 minutes and offered a comfortable ride, it still took me several hours to get from my home to 42nd Street & Fit Avanoo. After disembarking the Metroliner, I took da Seventavanoo localta Fortyseconstreet anden tookda shuttle to Grancentral. Combine the odors of pizza and stinky people everywhere between Penn Station and Grancentral.

    These days, I drive to New York when I have to, but as long as I leave after the rush, I can be on the other side of the Holland Tunnel (Hollantunnel) in an hour and a half. Parking is expensive, but so is a ticket to ride the Excela train. I doubt I will ever again take the Amtrak train.

    Another alternative is to take the Bieber Bus from Fogelsville, which would have me at the Port Authority (Poortoridy) in two hours. Ten bucks more for a cab, or else two bucks to ride the buses and subways.

    A fourth alternative is to avoid these big cities whenever possible. In that case, there is probably no public transportation anywhere, including high speed rail going to another non-city location. This is why my favorite slogan is “Drill, Baby, drill!!), urging the Powers That Be to go for all that oil and gas that the Club of Rome said would run out in around 1986.

    Ed Rendell was a big advocate for high speed rail in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Currently, there is no real way to get from the Northeast to the southwestern suburbs, so about 16 years ago Congressman Jon Fox (not the brightest bulb) thought this would be the basis of his campaign against Democrat Joe Hoeffel. Luckily, this idea when nowhere because it was doubtful that anyone from the Northeast wanted to go to Upper Darby anyway. Another stroke of luck is that Ed is no longer governor and the Republicans control both houses of the state legislature.

    I thought Roger Thornhill had driven into the city, and the only reason he wound up on the train is that he had fled from the Oak Room to Grand Central and then hopped on the train.

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