Monday, May 09, 2011

Trains, Trains, Trains!

We all have Republican Florida governor Rick Scott to thank for the Obama Administration’s announcement today that it was repurposing a whopping $10 billion that was going to be spent in Florida on a $10 billion high speed rail initiative.

Scott told the Obama administration “Thanks but no thanks” to this free money because he didn’t want Florida’s taxpayers to be “on the hook for future operation costs.”

Oh, and this might bring more jobs to Florida. More jobs, more taxpayers. More joy.

Certainly can’t let Obama bring joy to Floridians. That’s Rick Scott’s job.

So the Obama administration is spreading the wealth around a bit - and the joy. A new list of projects to be funded for future high-speed rail starts with $800 million toward a Boston-Washington corridor project, then a Chicago-Detroit project and a Chicago-St. Louis project to the tune of $400 million, and $300 million for a Los Angeles-San Francisco project.

These were smart choices as they all link metropolitan areas with currently operating light rail systems (Detroit is just in the process of getting one going).

They are also smart choices because they are all in Democratic or leaning Democratic regions. Teabaggers don’t want federal dollars? Fine. They spend just as well in blue states.

High speed rail is long overdue in America. Our rail system has literally not been upgraded in decades. And the cost saving in terms of fuel burned per passenger makes this a much more efficient transportation system than regional airline routes.

Oh, and speaking of regional airlines. If you have any stock in them, time to move it to gold.

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