Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When Rail Becomes Ridiculous

Excellent piece by Megan McArdle on the attempt to create high-speed rail lines - with tax dollars - in places where high-speed rail lines don't make sense.
I often find it hard to convince environmentalists that I really am a rail buff who likes dense, walkable development, and the planet. If that's so, they ask, why do I spend so much time harping on the problems with high speed rail?

My answer is that I wouldn't harp on the problems if the advocates of high speed rail advocates wouldn't make such glaring mistakes. Like, say, the Tampa-to-Orlando high speed rail project...

So basically, the feds wanted to spend $2.6 billion, plus any cost overruns or operating costs, to put in a train for which there was no evident demand. Why? Because they didn't have any better options, and they wanted to build a train. The California High Speed Rail project, following similarly sound reasoning, is going to start out in California's not-very-populous Central Valley, because . . . it's easier to get the right of way. Never mind that there aren't any, like, passengers.
It's a good, and informative, read.

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