NOTE: EXCELLENT DISCUSSION IN THE “COMMENTS” SECTION.
This post started off as my response to a reader in the thread below dealing with the BNSF CEO’s concept of “targeting” all the HSR stimulus money into a single project. It is a very good discussion and I thought I would move my thoughts to the front page for wider consideration.
Rose’s position is similar to some political positions which support the concept while imposing conditions making its implementation impossible. It’s like the guy for Georgia who thinks the time has come for HSR and it should pay for itself. (I plan to post on this idea soon.)
America’s railroads were built on the basis of a public-private partnership. The corporations generally got land and tax breaks in exchange for the promise to provide a necessary transportation service.
An earlier poster observed the advantages of “targeting” the northeast corridor. While this has some advantages, the idea also exposes an interesting aspect of Rose’s formulation.
Pouring $13 billion into the Washington-Boston corridor is a political impossibility. This geographic region represents everything middle America hates. Those of us who follow rail transport instinctively feel slighted by the neglect of our long distance trains.
Satan will ice skate across Hell when the northeast corridor gets $13 billion.
Let me clarify that I am not speaking to the merits of the above post concerning the northeast corridor. It has a powerful basis in fact.
These decisions are always political and politics is the science of the doable. Spreading the money around like peanut butter is politically easy and we need to be aware of this.
I think spreading the money across a regions, such as the Midwest High Speed Rail Association routes, makes very good sense. That may be too narrow, from the political viewpoint.
For most Americans, health care and the Middle East are first order political priorities. For airlines and highway interests, killing competing forms of transportation is more important than anything – anything. They will stop at nothing.
It ought to be noted that BNSF is probably not an enemy of Amtrak or HSR. They are not friends either.BNSF owns a business and rightly expected to be compensated for use of its facilities.
Expect the enemy to favor HSR in principle and propose the methods that result only in our demise. Our goal must be to get Americans on trains and that means making trains available.