Sunday, September 18, 2011

Getting Railroaded Into Rapid Rail

A lot of people - myself included - love trains and would love to see a network of passenger rail across the United States. However, can we really afford it? Will enough people ride it? (Of course, once gas is at $5 a gallon, more people will probably want to ride trains...but if we ever hit that point...the world as we know it will have changed.)

Anyway, here's an opposing view:

From The Pilot: Getting Railroaded Into Rapid Rail
We’re getting railroaded! Obama is determined to shove “high speed” trains down our throats. This is insanity!

Consider the following. The administration has allocated $53 billion toward the “rapid rail” project. Want to bet it won’t grow to 300?

Florida turned down $2 1/3 billion for the 84-mile run between Tampa and Orlando. By car it’s four times cheaper, more convenient, and you may save 30 minutes. Who will take the train after their initial joy ride?

The annual deficit is estimated to be in the billions. Obama is insistent on spending Florida’s money, so he will give it to another state. Only problem is that Wisconsin also turned down the money for the 78-mile trip between Madison and Milwaukee.

So, let’s throw the money at Ohio. Ohio turned down the money due to “no need and future deficits.” That leaves California and its proposed San Francisco to Anaheim trip; $5.5 billion is the initial investment, but it may run up to $213 billion. That builds a “speed train” to nowhere. It initially starts at Borden, ending at Corcoran. Where?

Further, deficits will run into billions. Where are the trains manufactured? Germany, France, Spain, Canada, England, not the U.S. Obama says we must be competitive in the world. China is our role model. How are they doing?

Tickets are too expensive, trains are half full, high levels of debt created. There’s a safety problem. The faster the train, the worse the accident. Trains are being slowed down with greater maintenance and repair costs. Work is being suspended on new lines. Yet, we proceed.

This defies common sense, shows ignorance and insanity. For a broke country, we need not throw away billions on a bad dream called a nightmare.

Wake up, America.

Monroe Diefendorf


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