The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Off the Rails

Way, way, way back in 2011, I wrote a blog piece entitled, "Fancy over Fact." It began this way:

In light of the results of the November [2010] election, the looming budget crisis, and out-of-control federal spending, it would seem incomprehensible that the Obama administration would champion still more spending on a project that is doomed to become still another budget buster even before it begins. But the President never ceases to amaze ... 

My post argued that he Democrat's high speed rail fantasy was a boondoggle that allowed them to virtue signal about how much they wanted to mitigate "global warming" (the operative phrase in those days), while at the same time wasting tens of billions in taxpayer dollars.

... it won’t work. Like Amtrac [slow speed rail], high speed rail will require massive government subsidies (money we cannot afford), will do almost nothing to improve our transportation infrastructure, will do little if anything to improve the environment, and will be wildly expensive (e.g., one way from NYC to DC on Amtrac: $139.00; one way by bus: about $40.00, both originating from inner city locations.)

Fast forward 11 years to the Democrats' house organ, the New York Times in an article entitled: "How California’s Bullet Train Went Off the Rails."

Although it comes more than a half century after Asia and Europe were running successful high-speed rail systems, the bullet train project when it was first proposed in the 1980s was new to America*, larger than any single transportation project before it and more costly than even the nation’s biggest state could finance in one step.

More than a decade of waste and failure, bad planning and political posturing, and CA's vaunted "bullet train" still sits on the drawing board. 

Like most "big" projects that are proposed in blue states, this one sounded good as a concept but was never able to make the transition from fantasy to reality. 

Maybe CA should have listened to then CA resident, Elon Musk, when he proposed "Hyperloop"—faster, cheaper, and considerably more environmentally friendly than the bullet train. Like the train, Hyperloop was simply a concept, but it was specified using tech for the 21st century, not the 19th. Private sector development of the Hyperloop concept is progressing (albeit slowly).