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April 05, 2012

End A High Speed Rail Boondoggle Says The Ultra Conservative, Right Wing Editorial Board Of...The Washington Post.

Oh my.

Developers want to build a high speed rail line from Southern California to Las Vegas. Naturally, they want some sweet, sweet federal money for it. All the usual suspects, including Nevada's Senator Pat Geary, er, Harry Reid are on board. But those crazy WaPo right wingers say, not so fast.

The proposed line’s advertised public benefits are the same as those claimed for all high-speed rail projects: reduced carbon emissions, less air and auto traffic, and, of course, jobs, jobs, jobs. What makes this one unique is that it would be a non-stop route whose Western end, Victorville, would function as a gathering point for people from all across Southern California. They would park their cars and then board the train for Vegas. In theory, that’s no different from driving to an airport and leaving your car. And once you reached the train, it would take only 80 minutes to hit Vegas, as opposed to a minimum four-hour drive each way.

In theory. But if this train is such a good idea, business-wise, how come private banks aren’t lining up to finance it? Previous high-speed rail projects around the world have been plagued by poor ridership, requiring government subsidies to continue operation. You might save travel time by taking the train instead of a car — as long as you’re content to depend on the train’s schedule.


As for jobs, any that the Vegas train creates will come at the expense of alternative uses of the money — upgrading the Northeast Corridor to accommodate higher-speed trains comes to mind — not to mention My Party Ride and other competing businesses, large and small. The new line might be a boon for Victorville, but the shift in traffic could hurt neighboring Barstow. If the casino moguls want a train, let them build it with their own money; taxpayers shouldn’t have to go along for the ride.

This is like a rightwing indictment of one of Obama's signature programs. And the logic extends to other areas such as "green energy".

Now they don't call for ending public financing for all high speed lines but as they admit, their rationale extends beyond this one project.

Vice President Choo-choo Train Biden will be very sad.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:16 AM

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