Thursday, April 14, 2011

High Speed Rail: Is "The Dream" Finally Dead?

While last week's budget compromise now seems to be a nothing more than classic bipartisan political kabuki theater, there is at least one tremendous positive coming out of it: the death of Obama's wacky high-speed rail fantasies.

If anything good came out of last week’s spending agreement, it was that President Obama’s high-speed rail boondoggle is now on the ropes. There is no money budgeted for the program the rest of this year, and a portion of the money allocated last year has been clawed back. This is likely a mortal blow to what the Obama administration envisioned as a $500 billion program to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail in the next 25 years.

For those who believe that the amount of government spending is perversely large in relation to what voters would like, this is a small but symbolic victory. High-speed rail was rolled out as a futuristic makeover of an aging American infrastructure, not an in-demand reform to the main kinds of transportation we already have.

Which was one of many key problems for the rail boondoggle all along. While folks were in the streets screaming about lowering taxes, reducing spending and adhering to the constitution - and electing a new House full of Representatives who felt exactly the same way - Barack Obama was wittering away about the need to spend billions on a transportation system nobody wanted, and needing to raise taxes to pay for it.

Remind you at all about another government program the president was obsessed with? Alas, even our addled president realizes he'll never push this through a Republican-held Congress. Somebody tell Nancy Pelosi, by the way, this is the reason we hold elections...

This vehicle, according to Barack Obama, is a sensible part of a frugal budget. I suppose it could be possible...if you're a Saudi prince.

Kind of makes Florida's Rick Scott, who rejected $2B in high-speed funds from the government for an unnecessary rail line from Orlando to Tampa, look like a genius. But then again, the formula for looking smart these days isn't that complicated. Just listen to what Obama is saying, and propose the exact opposite....

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