Tuesday, May 05, 2009

High speed rail in the US? Not very smart thinking

"Public Transportation" is the magic wand that Dems/Lefties/"Progressives" insist will solve our energy problems, clean up the air, and stop "global warming" with but a majestic wave and a few incantations. The most favorite of the many "public transportation" schemes large and small they try to foist on us as "the solution" their magic wand will produce is high speed rail.

For those alternatively clued folks mentioned above, I offer this: It will not do any of the things you insist it will do There is no magic wand that makes high speed rail a solution to any transportation-related problem.

Here's why: They are neither "high speed", nor are they sufficiently energy efficient over other modes of travel, and they're outrageously expensive in total.


"Americans who have ridden French or Japanese high-speed trains often wonder why such trains won't work here. The problem is, they don't work that well in France or Japan.

France and Japan have each spent roughly (after adjusting for inflation) the same amount of money per capita on high-speed rail as the United States spent on the interstate highway system. Americans use the interstates to travel nearly 4,000 passenger miles and ship more than 2,000 ton-miles of freight per person per year.

By comparison, high-speed rail moves virtually no freight and carries the average resident of Japan less than 400 miles per year, and the average resident of France less than 300 miles per year. It is likely that a few people use them a lot, and most rarely or not at all.

Interstates paid for themselves out of gas taxes, and most Americans use them almost every day. Moderate or high-speed rail would require everyone to subsidize trains that would serve only a small elite.

Which symbolizes the America that Obama wants to rebuild better?"

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