Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another Cautionary Tale On Mass Transit Boondoggles

The Obama administration has invested $12 billion in high-speed rail over the past four years. That's almost $1,000 per federal taxpayer! CNN's Drew Griffin highlights the abysmal failure of those expenditures to generate a single high-speed rail anywhere in the U.S. despite the massive investment of federal tax dollars. What's typical is a line in Washington state that received $800 million to improve the track between Seattle and Portland that resulted in cutting the average trip time by just 10 minutes. After all the billions spent on high-speed rail, not a single high-speed rail has yet been built with those dollars. Just one line in California is under construction.


Unigov said...

I saw that, what a waste of money, but what a great admission.

Large public works projects generally share these two attributes:

1) They maximize costs. Such projects operate under a different incentive system than one might consider financially wise. The Big Dig in Boston went on for a decade and cost $12 billion, but this was no accident, it was *by design* - cause it maximized employment of high-paid union construction workers. Those unions in turn fund the Democrats.

Similar thing with the Carmel roundabouts, which are paid for %100 by the federal government. Why would the feds pay for Carmel's local roads ? Cause federal projects have to pay prevailing wages, and Mr Obama wants to reward his supporters.

2) Transportation projects (rail, highways, airports) are going crazy now because we've entered an era in which business-based transportation is demonstrably idiotic. The Internet has made it possible to hold most business meetings electronically, over Cisco, Skype, etc. And most business people don't enjoy such travel. So before the public realizes how dumb it is to build out transportation infrastructure, the construction business and labor unions are pushing for as much spending as possible.

Really, Any type of "location-based" construction spending is questionable:

- New post offices and mail handling facilities, in an era when most residences could easily get by on 2 mail deliveries per week.

- New central libraries, with books going the way of vinyl records. (I admit to loving books though !)

- New sports stadiums, with the home viewing experience having become so incredible.

- New shopping malls, with Amazon et al having clobbered the brick-and-mortar model. Even adding on sales tax won't stop this trend. The only people who will still faithfully go to the malls are teenagers, mall walkers, and people without the Internet.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I think the story actually says the high speed train planned between LA and San Francisco is still in the planning stages, and has been for 10 years...they haven't actually laid any track.

Pete Boggs said...

High speed fail; it's an epitaph for the euro-styled demise of inept statism.

CircleCityScribe said...

Unigov called this one right! I also remind everyone that HB 1011 is moving through the legislature to:

*Create ANOTHER layer of government.

*-With authority to TAX & SPEND!

* The signs of corruption are readily apparent: No Elected Officials on the TAXING AUTHORITY BOARD....just appointees of elected officials. Who gets the grease to be sure their appointees vote "the right way?"

* Other Metropolitan areas with a regional mass transit authority (Chicago is close) have an extremely high rate of VIOLENT CRIME!

* Can anyone tell me when Chief Keef is booking the Carmel Palladium so the residents of The Meadows, etc can utilize their regional mass transit to get there???????

CircleCityScribe said...

AI just reported another DEMOCRAT convicted of corruption in St. Joseph County.

Any pattern here????? Is the picture becoming crystal clear??????