Barack Obama's call in his State of the Union speech for giving 80% of American access to high-speed rail is perhaps the most absurd passage therein. As I explained in my Examiner column earlier this month, high-speed rail only makes sense in a few places in the country, and even there we're highly unlikely to build the really high-speed rail as the French and Japanese have. Moreover, high-speed rail is essentially an amenity and convenience for business travelers. Fares have to be expensive to come close to cover operating costs, much less capital costs. You won't see many bargain travelers on the not-really-high-speed Acela between Washington and New York; they ride the free market competitive bus lines which have sprouted up to give service at a price rail can never match. Someone should ask President Obama: why do you want to spend billions to benefit rich Northeastern businessmen?
Obama's absurd high-rail promise
January 26, 2011 - 12:00 AM