Monday, January 31, 2011

Another voice against the unnecessary costs of high-speed rail

Last week I wrote a post wondering why some politicians, like our President, have an obsession with high-speed rail.

As my blog feeds to my Facebook page, we had a good discussion there about the concept, the funding and the alternatives.

Today, I came across Wendell Cox, writing in National Review, agreeing with me that high-speed rail is a budget-buster. He writes:

If the nation is going to reduce its out-of-control spending, the first step is to stop spending money on things we do not need. Despite President Obama’s call in his State of the Union speech for linking 80 percent of the nation by high-speed rail, it is hard to imagine a more unnecessary program.

For example, people who travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco — along the route planned for one of the nation’s first high-speed-rail projects — already have choices. They can fly, drive, take the bus, or travel by train. True, some would prefer to tax their fellow citizens so that they can have another choice, high-speed rail. But indulging this desire would be as legitimate as funding government grocery stores for people who prefer not to shop at their local grocery chains.

Cox provides details on cost overruns (as common as 80% and, in some countries, more than 200%), and environmental claims. I hope you'll take the time to read the entire article.

1 comment:

Chuck Greer said...

Maggie, The politicos think this is a "good idea" because it plays well with the progressive crowd. I mean, what sounds better that getting people from one place to another fast? It saves all that Big Oil, dontchaknow? Its the government doing what it should to get big things done, big ideas, great stuff. Only, like Amtrac, it depends on the government for its very survival. If it were such a great thing, the private sector would do it...but they don't, and that's the most telling part of the story.

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