Saturday, January 24, 2009

Like a Bullet

Let's be clear on this—I fully support the development of a high-speed transit system that runs from DC to Boston (though I wouldn't have it travel through Providence). And I think Paolino is right about the following:
The full potential of high-speed train travel will never be realized on a 19th-century rail infrastructure that has been only modestly improved over the years.

To accommodate high-speed rail, many areas of tracks in the Northeast Corridor would have to be widened, straightened or even relocated. If trains are to go faster than 100 mph, there would have to be much greater separation between the trains and any nearby pedestrians or motor vehicles. Bullet trains and slow-moving freight trains may not be able to share the same tracks. New tunnels, trenches or bridges could be needed.
But does he really think the federal government is the way to get it done?

Honestly, if private rail companies had been operating these lines all along (without the government regulations that crippled them in the 50s), is there really any doubt that we'd already have just such a system? In competition with airline shuttles, you think they wouldn't have found investors to fund those improvements with an expectation of profit?

These are simple concepts, people. Competition creates more efficient uses of property and assets than government monopolies. There is more creativity in a company struggling to survive than there is among 536 people in DC.

Privatize Amtrak and you'll have high-speed commuter rail on major lines inside of 10 years. Keep it public and it'll never happen.

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