While bullet trains offer a new exotic and faster way of traveling, it’s really expensive, so expensive that the private industry has yet to make the idea profitable or viable. Almost $8 billion
will be used to fund the new construction of high-speed rails in California, Florida, Illinois, New England, and the Pacific Northwest. However, according to a report by the Cato Institute
, this $8 billion is a severe underestimate of the total bill.
The Midwest Regional Rail Initiative estimated that upgrading rails to 110 mph standards would cost an average of $3.5 million per mile. The Federal Railroad Administration has plans for 8,500 miles of track, and at $3.5 million per mile the cost would actually be $30 billion.
However, the Florida High-Speed Rail Authority has estimated that construction of rail line would cost $27 million per mile. The California High-Speed Authority has estimated that a segment between San Francisco and Anaheim would cost $106 million per mile. These projects are estimated to cost $90 billion, completely bypassing the $8 billion set aside for all high-speed rail projects. It certainly is hard to take Obama’s commitment in the SOTU of “going through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work.”
If the projects are going to cost a lot more than $8 billion, why would the government want to start these projects, especially in a time when our country cannot afford to waste money? According to PJ O’Rourke in an interview with Reason
,“politicians love trains. Why? Because they can tell where the tracks go. They know where everybody's going. For politicians it's all about control and power. Politicians hate cars because cars make people free.”
(photo by ajacs)