Logan and I are both being held hostage by the academic forces of darkness, but I thought I would grab an item out of the Cleveland Plain Dealer penned by a Cato operative. This supposedly libertarian think tank perfectly parrots the clock stopping opinions of truckers and airlines.
Even if we take Cato seriously, which is difficult on matters of transportation, most of the arguments are the same old stuff. Cato’s position is entirely anti-government. At least, that is the Readers’ Digest version. The author is well rewarded for his opposition to modern transportation.
In 1900 Randal O’Toole would have been against automobiles and paved roads, except that blacksmiths and buggy whip makers were generally small businessmen who would not be able to lay out big bucks for fancy academic mouthpieces to back up our outdated industry. He has even found time to write a book for his greedy corporate masters.
O’Toole unwittingly makes the case for HSR as it is working out. America will, quickly and for reasonable fiscal outlays, receive much faster and better rail passenger service. Americans will ahve a choice (something airlines desperately resist).
Here is the astounding conclusion to O’Toole’s essay. Sit down.
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?
So the interstate highways paid for themselves? Since when? What exactly are those gas taxes for and (help me out now) which special interest group is it that tears the roads and bridges to shreds with vastly over-sized cargo loads? Was it one of those paid for interstate highways that just collapsed in the middle of downtown Minneapolis?
O’Toole’s retreat into class warfare is especially entertaining especially from the likes of an east coast ivory-tower “intellectual.” Sorry, Randal, but your mask is off. If elites ride good trains, I will see you on board. I’ll look for you in the bar car.
What kind of America will we live in? Will we have an alternative to driving for the increasing number of older Americans? Will the United States pave over every last blade of grass for the high way special interest lobby? Make no mistake about it, airlines and highway interest groups have a bottomless pit of money to influence bad government policy. They have been hard at work for decades.