Lest you think Washington has begun a new era of fiscal self-restraint, consider this week's act of political retribution by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.With its vast area, America isn't Europe, and rail travel isn't economically efficient. So why, in an era of massive Federal deficits, are we pouring money into trains?
Newly elected GOP Governors in Ohio and Wisconsin wanted to kill high-speed rail projects in their states and instead use the money to fix their battered roads. Sorry, guys. Mr. LaHood reclaimed the $1.2 billion and handed it to 13 other states that still want to build these high-speed trains to nowhere.
Both Wisconsin's Scott Walker and Ohio's John Kasich had campaigned against the trains, and rightly so given passenger rail's financial, er, track record. But the Obama Administration is bent on building mass transit whether the masses like it or not. Thanks to Mr. LaHood, Wisconsin and Ohio taxpayers will still have the privilege of paying for the new train projects even if they're built somewhere else. Ah, federalism.
Messrs. Walker and Kasich are right on the merits, and we're confident they'll save their taxpayers money over time.
Consider the case of California, which is one of the states getting cash for trains that the Midwesterners didn't want. Earlier this month its high-speed rail authority approved construction on the first 65-mile segment of a 500-mile bullet train. The first miles will connect the small towns of Borden and Corcoran in the Central Valley for a mere $4.15 billion. Yes, that's billion.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Spending Insanity of the Day
From the December 11th Wall Street Journal: