I probably should leave this one alone, but here goes anyway. The Gwinnett Gazette runs an item headlined “Go Slow on High Speed Rail.” The opening line was too good.
With wide-eyed naivete, proponents of high-speed rail are pointing to service in Europe and Asia as reasons that such networks are the next great thing in transportation for the United States. But Americans will travel a lot further on the hype over President Obama’s pledge of $8 billion in economic stimulus funds for high-speed rail than any money will go.
The first question, however, is, “Why?” Why would the hard-working taxpayers of Georgia and North Carolina – indeed, any taxpayer – want to foot the estimated $1.4 billion bill on a 244-mile project between Atlanta and Charlotte? Georgia already struggles to meet the entire state’s transportation needs with a $2 billion annual budget.
Good question. Let’s see.
- What does it cost to build 2 lanes of interstate highways and why should motorists pay for truckers and their damage?
- Why should driving or flying be the only choices?
- Why not improve rail capacity for freight?
- Why not do a little something to protect the environment?
- Why must transportation policy always be directed to automobiles?
- Why should smaller cities get some of the benefits enjoyed by big cities like Atlanta?
Of all the transportation coridors in a growth area, Atlanta to the northeast is prime country. Faster trains, maybe not European HST, make perfect sense in the transportation mix.