Wednesday, January 26, 2011

High Speed and Government Run

My incredibly good friend (depending upon your interpretation of 'incredibly good friend') Jonah Goldberg posted this Simpson's clip:

In the SOTU Obama says:

Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”...

... Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail. (Applause.) This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying –- without the pat-down. (Laughter and applause.) As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.

There he goes with his China envy again. I think it's great that China is building newer airports. China still needs airports. We don't. In fact, remember the John Murtha airport to nowhere?:
Inside the terminal on a recent weekday, four passengers lined up to board a flight, outnumbered by seven security staff members and supervisors, all suited up in gloves and uniforms to screen six pieces of luggage. For three hours that day, no commercial or private planes took off or landed. Three commercial flights leave the airport on weekdays, all bound for Dulles International Airport.

Lets see China match that: personal airports.

And high speed rail. Well, it's great and all but 80% of us having access to it isn't the same as 80% of us using it. In my head I'm thinking, "yes, I might use high speed rail if it was fast and clean and reasonably affordable." But this is the government. How far have the gotten in making Amtrak fast and clean and reasonably affordable?

BTW - we checked the rail option for getting the Lumberkid home from college: it was more expensive than flying.