Ready or not, here comes high speed rail

Ready or not, here comes high speed rail



Definition of a boondoggle: A government program with no
chance of succeeding but where huge amounts of money are spent

Definition of insanity: (See “boondoggle”).

Street Journal:

Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a $53 billion plan
Tuesday to upgrade and build intercity passenger-rail networks.

Mr. Biden, along with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, announced the
plan at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. The six-year program is designed to
give 80% of Americans access to passenger-rail service within 25 years-a goal
President Barack Obama set in his State of the Union Address-and to create jobs.

“In a global economy, we can’t forget that infrastructure is also
the veins and the arteries of commerce,” Mr. Biden said. He frequently travels
between his home state of Delaware and Washington on Amtrak trains.

The administration has already devoted $10.5 billion to passenger-rail
programs, with the bulk of the funds going toward California and Florida
high-speed rail projects that are currently in the planning stage.
Under the new plan, the administration would provide $8 billion for
passenger-rail projects in this year’s budget, set to be released next
The plan faces hurdles, including how future funding will be paid for and
whether it can gain enough support in Congress. Republicans have criticized rail
projects as wasteful spending and have called for canceling rail construction as
part of a broader plan to reduce the deficit.
Let me state this as delicately as possible; Americans hate taking long
trips on trains. They have made their feelings known on this issue by ignoring
AMTRAK like it had the plague. A recent
showed that 41 of 44 AMTRAK routes lose money with the worst
performance being the route between LA and New Orleans. Each ticket on that
route receives a subsidy of $467.
It doesn’t matter how fast you make them, how many amenities you add, how
many slick commercials you run, or how many Vice Presidents shill for the
boondoggle; Americans won’t make train travel profitable.
A look at who gets most of that $53 billion will tell you why it is being
proposed; unions and subsidized freight companies who want the government to pay
for the upgrade in infrastructure. It’s the same old Washington racket gussied
up with “future” rhetoric.
Spare us the BS and just kill the thing.
James Courcelles adds:

This high tech White House is the first
to tweet and text.  Wow.

Look around your house or office:  The Xbox Live
game from Microsoft offers the chance to play a live video game, on demand,
against another player across town or around the world.  The  iPad II from Apple
will offer on demand, 2-way, high-def, completely mobile, face-to-face human
communications with a forward facing camera.  The umi telepresence from Cisco
offers similar instant communications into the corporate boardroom, classroom or
home office.

The Democrats just don’t get the message.

The authors
of the “shovel-ready stimulus” that admittedly didn’t work, have left us
standing at the station.  In the last two days, NY and Philadelphia hosted four
Democrats giving press conferences on new “job-creating and ambitious” projects
that lead us into the 21st century.

The Democrats sent the VP and
Transportation Secretary to an Amtrak station in Philadelphia while 2 US
Senators held forth in NY.  Democrats in NJ and NY eagerly pledged up to $10
billion to revive a Hudson River rail tunnel project which republican governor
Christie recently canceled because borrowing the $3-5 billion in costs could not
be justified.

VP Biden echoed the President from his State of the Union
address: “a 6-year, $53 billion high-speed intercity passenger rail plan is an
enormous step toward…essential high-speed rail projects. It clearly
demonstrates the Obama Administration’s commitment to putting this program on
the fast track to success…we do big things in America…we can’t compete in
the next century without this transportation project.”

We have teenagers in Cairo tweeting the world, begging for support from
the free world.  Our children have playdates with kids half way around the world
in places they will never visit.
While our leaders in DC are eager to borrow tens of billions of dollars to
“win the future,” leaving the rest of us waiting for the train.
James Courcelles, an independent writer, who can be reached

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at February 09, 2011 – 10:28:39 AM CST

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