Filed under: Domestic Policy, News the Media Doesn't Want You to Hear, Politics, Progressivism | Tags: Democrat Demagogues, Economy
Are we spreading ourselves a little thin? As if we did not have enough to worry about, President Obama announced his plan for a massive investment to develop high speed rail networks in the United States. The term “massive investment” may be becoming a little over-used.
According to Obama’s “vision” for high speed rail, Chicago is one of the cities considered to be the center of a hub network connecting Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Louisville. As a candidate, Obama spoke of high-speed rail as part of his vision of “rebuilding America.” He talked of revitalizing the Midwest by connecting cities with faster rail service to relieve congestion and improve energy conservation, and as an alternative to air transportation connecting all those cities.
The $787.2 billion economic recovery bill dedicates $8 billion to high speed rail, and Obama will ask for $1 billion more in each of the next five years. The Reason Foundation suggests that $13 billion would hardly be a start on such a plan.
Richard Nadler, president of the Americas Majority Foundation, says high speed rail is a “genuinely horrible idea.” Here, he said, are some reasons why Obama’s idea to make a major investment in passenger rail is horrendous:
Genuine high-speed rail—1150-to-200 miles-per-hour, as found in Japan and parts of Europe —requires separate rights of way; broad curves, very shallow grades, and no 60-mile-per-hour freight sharing the track. It is very expensive to engineer and maintain.
If you cut corners, as Obama implied, by using existing infrastructure, you come out with a system that will do 90-mph max, and will gum up existing freight traffic, which is much slower.
The Reason Foundation has been studying California’s high-speed rail system. It will cost tens of billions more than estimated. Ridership numbers will be much lower than predicted according to a due diligence report on the High-Speed Rail Authority’s plans. “The current high-speed rail plan is a fairy tale,” said Adrian Moore PhD, the study’s project director. “The proposal suggests these high-speed trains will be the fastest ever; the most-ridden ever; the cheapest ever; and will convince millions of Californians they no longer need to drive or fly. Offering up a best-case scenario is one thing, but actually depending on all of these miracles to happen simultaneously is irresponsible public policy.
In California, the Rail Authority claimed the first two phases of the system would cost $45 billion. The Reason Foundation suggests the final price tag would be more like $81 billion. Any failure to meet the Rail Authority’s ridership projections would force ticket price increases, further cutting ridership. The report also found that no existing high-speed rail train is currently capable of meeting the speed and safety goals set by the system’s advocates. But California will have to use slower heavier trains because it plans on using the same tracks as freight trains in some sections.
Like I said, the term “massive investment” may be getting a little over used. Isn’t it wonderful that we have absolutely unlimited funds to spread around on whatever strikes our fancy?
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