April 13, 2011
The Death of the Bullet Train?

I’ve just finished listening to President Obama’s speech laying out his plans to save the nation’s economy from Paul Ryan, the trust fund baby from Wisconsin.

No politically significant number of American voters watched along with me, because who watches long speeches in the middle of the day? (People whose minds are already made up, that’s who.) Too bad, since it was a simple, clear and convincing takedown of the Grand Old Tea Party’s plan to push our economy underwater for the third and final time.

However (you knew there’d be a however, didn’t you?), one thing struck me as the speech went along. Take a look:

We’ve laid down railroads and highways to facilitate travel and commerce…

We won’t be able to afford good schools, new research, or the repair of roads and bridges – all the things that will create new jobs and businesses here in America…

It’s a vision that says if our roads crumble and our bridges collapse, we can’t afford to fix them…

We’ll invest in medical research and clean energy technology. We’ll invest in new roads and airports and broadband access:

We are the nation that built a railroad across a continent and brought light to communities shrouded in darkness…

Every reference to railroads is in the past tense, as if no further attention needs to be paid. The golden spike got driven in 1869, after all. Maybe I’m making too much of what may have been an innocent and meaningless oversight. But in my experience major presidential addresses to the nation tend to be vetted pretty carefully by a great many players, each fighting for at least a mention of its pet projects. And not a historical mention.

Note: I love to say I told you so. At 8:18 p.m., CNN Radio moved the story from which this comes:

(CNN) — President Barack Obama’s plan for a national high-speed rail network suffered a serious setback as a result of the fight over budget cuts. No money will be allocated for high-speed rail projects for the remainder of 2011…

The budget bill says the amount of money for “Department of Transportation, Federal Railroad Administration, Capital Assistance for High Speed Rail Corridors and Intercity Passenger Rail Service shall be $0” for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. Another section of the bill rescinds $400 million from the funds that were already budgeted for high-speed rail in 2010…


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at April 13, 2011 04:49 PM
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From your screed it's plainly obvious thar you know less about the economy than you do about railroads. The dream of a socialist utopia built on the backs of tax slaves is dead, it's time to flush you clueless whiny losers and fix the fuckups that a decade if irresponsibility has caused. You and your gimme gimme gimme is the problem, We The People are the solution.

Posted by: Paul Jarail on April 13, 2011 7:09 PM

Hey, Paul, good to hear from you.

Posted by: Jerry Doolittle on April 13, 2011 7:17 PM

The system of government which he nominally heads has resisted significant structural change for more than two hundred years of the most stunning scientific and technological advances in human history.

Posted by: lawyers on April 14, 2011 4:28 AM

It is very good article......

Posted by: Car Alarms on April 14, 2011 8:15 AM

Hummmmmmm. Just another reminder of how far behind Canada, Europe, Australia, etc. we have been and continue to be in the use of
public transportation. The use of buses, trains, trolleys, tubes here in the USA takes a way far back seat to our requirement of one gas guzzling vehicle per person. Mary Faye

Posted by: on April 14, 2011 10:13 AM

As Jim Kunstler has pointed out, there is virtually no chance of this country ever ponying up enough investment to have a high-speed rail system. We will be lucky in a few years if we even have just plain, old "rail."

Posted by: Tim on April 14, 2011 12:13 PM

I wonder how Barack and Joe are getting along these days.

Posted by: Pat on April 14, 2011 4:11 PM

To ride one you have to go to Disneyworld if you are in America. Top speed is 25mph. When they first showed up at a fantasy park we should have known that they were a pipe dream for us. I suppose visitors to Disney World from foreign lands were stupid enough to think they were truly attainable and dared to dream the "impossible dream". So they went home and built real ones instead of the toy replicas that we have to pay to get to see.

Only in America.

Posted by: Buck on April 14, 2011 5:57 PM
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