To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information -- from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet.Washington Post editorial, July 27, 2011:
Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped. . . Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a "D."
For months, it has been increasingly obvious that China’s shiny new high-speed rail system is not the triumph of national planning that Beijing or Western admirers claimed. The Chinese government this year fired top rail officials for alleged wrongdoing, an implicit recognition that corruption and debt plague the project. Many of those who questioned the economics of high-speed rail in China also argued that authorities were cutting corners on safety in their rush to build the world’s largest bullet-train network. Those accusations, too, received tacit confirmation when China announced in April that it would cut the trains’ top speed by 30 miles per hour.We should not copy China.
Too late: Last Saturday, China’s high-speed rail produced the long-feared catastrophe. Two bullet trains collided in the eastern province of Zhejiang, leaving more than three dozen people dead and scores more injured.
The terrible collision is not only a human tragedy but also a major blow to the credibility of the communist government, which had hoped to sell its trains to other countries -- including the United States. Authorities blamed a lightning strike for causing one train to stall out, after which a second train rear-ended it, causing four cars to plunge off a bridge. Unlikely on its face, this scenario does not explain why no fail-safe mechanism halted the second train after the first stopped.
(via Planet Gore)