By Skip Chatterson - May 18, 2011
In a time where the US is facing a potential financial crisis the President goes into action by purposing High Speed Rail. To get this dream going Congress appropriated $8 billion for high-speed rail in Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill and $2 billion more in the 2010 appropriations bill.
The idea for high speed rail comes from this industry in other countries, so how is it working for them?
High-speed trains in Europe and Japan are technologically impressive, nearly all the routes in those jurisdictions lose money and need large subsidies to stay afloat.
Europe and Japan are far better suited for high speed rail than America based on their condensed population base.
Individual states are giving high speed rail a shot though. California is ready to spend $5.5 billion to build a high-speed rail line from Corcoran, a town about 30 miles south of Fresno to Borden, a ghost town north of Fresno. This is the first leg of a rail purposed to run from San Francisco to Los Angeles at an estimated cost of up to $81 billion. It is thought this train will run up to 110 miles/hour but it is not believed this plan will ultimately work.
Illinois is spending more than $3 billion to increase the average speed of trains from 51.6 miles per hour to 56.8 mph, saving travelers 30 minutes on the current 5 1/2-hour trip from Chicago to St. Louis.
Washington State is spending $700 million to boost speeds from 53.4 mph to 56.1 mph from Seattle to Portland. That will save travelers 10 minutes on the current 3 1/2-hour trip.
North Carolina is spending $545 million to increase speeds between Charlotte and Raleigh by about 3 mph, saving travelers 12 minutes on the current 3.2-hour trip.
I thought the minutes on my cell phone plan were expensive!
None of the aforementioned rails in the states are even close to the speeds reached in Europe or Japan and it maybe impossible to get anywhere close to their speeds and even more impossible to actually ever accomplish this task nationwide. Why would that stop Obama, as long as there’s some way to throw money down a toilet Obama will do it.
UPDATE: This from NewMax.com:
The federal government is asking Iowa to provide at least $20 million in subsidies for a so-called “high-speed rail” line from Chicago to Iowa City — even though a faster, cheaper bus service is already available.
Luxury intercity bus service between the two cities, with plugs for laptop computers and free wireless high-speed Internet, takes 3 1/2 hours and costs $18. The rail service would take 5 hours and would likely cost at least $50, according to Wendell Cox, an adjunct fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.
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