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February 12, 2009

SUPERTRAIN to Hell

I've been very curious about the mysterious High Speed Rail provision that was inserted into the stimulus bill by the Senate. On the one hand, no one talked much about it - it wasn't clear whose idea it was or even who put it in. On the other hand, even after multiple GOP hissy fits over spending, it was never pulled out. In fact, HSR money got upped. We have now learned who the big fan of the SUPERTRAIN is. And you'll never guess where most of it's going to be spent.
Another late addition was a quadrupling to $8 billion, at the behest of Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., of money to construct high-speed rail lines. Reid's office issued a statement noting that a proposed Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas rail could get a big chunk of the money.
Vegas. You must be frakking kidding.

Photo by Christopher Chan used under a CC license


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Anonymous CTBanker said...

I have to say, as a proving-ground for high speed rail, the LA-LV route is not a bad one. HSR would primarily compete with driving, and LV is a destination where having a car is not very necessary. Price independent, BOS-NYC-DC and SF-LA-SD are better routes, but the right-of-ways would be insanely expensive and you'd have more travelers who were less tolerant of delays and breakdowns. To prove HSR, leisure travel is probably the best target market.

Anonymous PhillyProf said...

Hasn't HSR been "proven" for non-leisure travel pretty effectively all over Europe and Japan?

Anonymous Christopher S. Johnson said...

Fogive my cross post from Grist on this issue:

But the highway between L.A. and Vegas chokes on the weekend and thousands, if not millions of cars sit running and San Bernardino stews in some of the worst smog in the country.
Not to mention drunk driving issues.

So lets see, a high speed rail between L.A. and Vegas would:

reduce CO2 emissions
reduce horrible particulates in the area
unsnarl horrible traffic jams
relieve drunk driving incidents from revelers coming back from Vegas.
Yeah, that would really be frivolous and something to be embarrassed about.
What is this? The Moral Majority Hour?

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