CNN: Say, high-speed rail is an expensive bust, huh?

posted at 3:21 pm on March 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Via Andrew Johnson at NRO, this isn’t notable so much for its content — which will come as no surprise to Hot Air readers — as its provenance.  This isn’t Fox News or even a right-wing blog site challenging the high-speed rail shibboleth of the Left; it’s CNN and Anderson Cooper.

Of course, it’s easy picking on Ray LaHood, who approaches high-speed cluelessness almost immediately as Drew Griffin demands some answers on the promises made by the Obama administration:

For all the money being spent on high-speed rail, Griffin reports that the only high-speed rail line that’s actually being built is the California corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles (eventually, anyway) that runs along and over the San Andreas Fault, which by-the-by is overdue for a massive earthquake.  I’ve included a few links below to remind readers just how well that project has gone over the last few years.  Don’t forget that the first service on this line if and when it starts at all — and after billions of dollars have been spent — will be to connect the huge metropolitan areas of Bakersfield and, er, somewhere near Fresno.  When it’s complete, California and the US will have spent over $100 billion in order to create a subsidized transportation system to connect two cities in a trip that takes about three times as long as air travel does.

Boondoggle? Absolutely. Bait and switch? You bet. Fraud? It’s been that from the start, but kudos to CNN for exposing it.


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How do you spell CF?

RedInMD on March 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Not according to Governor Brown.

The Formerly golden State is Golden again!

Why just say the words High Speed Rail, and the state
economy takes off!!

Libruls are the Best man, the BEST!

ToddPA on March 26, 2013 at 3:26 PM

And the Bridge to Nowhere was ridiculed by the media..

Electrongod on March 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

High-Speed Rail is gay…

Seven Percent Solution on March 26, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Monorail!

forest on March 26, 2013 at 3:28 PM

…but kudos to CNN for exposing it.

Why? For finally pulling their heads out of their butts on one issue, and seeing what’s been obvious to anyone who’s mildly observant? Cripes, if we waited for these clowns to get a clue, we’d all be dead by now.

RadClown on March 26, 2013 at 3:29 PM

For all the money being spent on high-speed rail, Griffin reports that the only high-speed rail line that’s actually being built is the California corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles (eventually, anyway)

Four words for you Ed. Never going to happen. Apparently you and the entire Fifth Column Treasonous Media have rather conveniently forgotten that California has more litigious Enviro-Nazi’s per capita then the entire rest of the country.

You think they are going to shut the water off to California’s Central Valley, cutting hundreds of billions of dollars of agricultural products down to mere dozens of billions of dollars in agricultural products, for a small bait-fish, and not block tearing up hundreds of miles of “Virgin Desert”? Seriously?

SWalker on March 26, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Actually, if the bureaucrats in the government wanted to increase passenger rail traffic, provide more rail service, reduce the size and cost of the post office, they should re-institute contracts for railroad post offices. The mail would get everywhere faster, even any small town with a railroad track. The railroads would be subsidized where they could, by the way, in addition to puling RPOs, also consist a passenger car or two.

The conservatives and politicians bi#ch and wring their hands about a few billion dollars to help amtrack, but pour hundreds of times that money down the rathole, subsidizing airlines, airports, FAA, airways, etc. Just think how much TSA costs us and its threat to our freedoms.

Many railroads ran passenger/freight combines for years. They didn’t even have to stop the trains at the station for mail but had semi-automatic pickup and delivery of SORTED mail.

Old Country Boy on March 26, 2013 at 3:35 PM

But rail did pretty good in the 1800′s.

docflash on March 26, 2013 at 3:36 PM

If one route can be improved, it’ll be worth it.

BobMbx on March 26, 2013 at 3:40 PM

How do you spell CF?

RedInMD on March 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

“CF”, I think.

The Rogue Tomato on March 26, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Say, high-speed rail is an expensive bust, huh?

Yeah, but the investment made the greenies happy that something was done, the intent was good, even if it was a bust, you guys tried.

And a lot of the money spent went to deserving people so it was all good, so lets keep pumping taxpayer money into failure.

Its what the Left does best.

hawkeye54 on March 26, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Math is hard.

Especially for idiots.

UltimateBob on March 26, 2013 at 3:51 PM

Simpletons. High speed rail will get us on track towards reversing all the environmental damage done by burning fossil fuels over the last century. Besides it will totally pay for itself by 2190, with or without ridership.

antipc on March 26, 2013 at 4:01 PM

B’but, “We’re the country that built the Intercontinental Railroad,” – Barack Obama

RadClown on March 26, 2013 at 4:02 PM

a.k.a. High Speed Solyndra.
A billion here a trillion there pretty soon you can say rece$$ion.

I’m thinking only a crazy azz mofo will be willing to run for POTUS in 2016.
Talk about inheriting an economy headed to the shiite storm zone.

Missilengr on March 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

How do you spell CF?

RedInMD on March 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

BHO

Ronnie on March 26, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Here’s why the WH tours were cancelled

Single-handedly brought down the tours.

BobMbx on March 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

I think high speed rail can have a use but it should be done right. We don’t need the government making up arbitrary routes that don’t have a huge demand. Lets do it intelligently and privately.

I’ve been saying for awhile that the first high speed rail should be two lines, one from LA to Las Vegas and one from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Paid for by the casinos. With the latter maybe being the first since there’s no faults or other common natural disasters to worry about. Get the kinks out and then build the other.

I know I’d shoot up to Vegas more often if I could drive over to the station and take a bullet train up in a couple hours. It’d most likely end up quicker then flying since you don’t have all of the airline nonsense and should be quite a bit cheaper too.

Azath on March 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

I’m thinking only a crazy azz mofo will be willing to run for POTUS in 2016.

Missilengr on March 26, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Then how can Biden lose?

BobMbx on March 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

High speed rail is a bust, but a bigger bust is light rail. Billions spent for no particular purpose other than local politicians fleecing taxpayers at state and federal levels.

Dasher on March 26, 2013 at 4:21 PM

I’m thinking only a crazy azz mofo will be willing to run for POTUS in 2016.

The Dems have too many of those to count. Certainly one of ‘em will rise to the top for that run.

hawkeye54 on March 26, 2013 at 4:32 PM

The “No Chu-chu Left Behind Act.”

Rich H on March 26, 2013 at 4:34 PM

a bigger bust is light rail. Billions spent for no particular purpose other than local politicians fleecing taxpayers at state and federal levels.

Its still early in the scheme of things for light rail, but if it goes according to plan, light rail will entice more people to give up their cars and suburbs to repopulate urban areas. That, for the statists is supposed to eventually provide an environment where the serfs are easier to control.

hawkeye54 on March 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM

I know I’d shoot up to Vegas more often if I could drive over to the station and take a bullet train up in a couple hours. It’d most likely end up quicker then flying since you don’t have all of the airline nonsense and should be quite a bit cheaper too.

Azath on March 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Your Vegas idea sounds great but if it were going to be profitable on its own it would have been done already.

What’s more likely is that the casinos will talk the states into paying for it and then neither the state nor the casinos will care if it bleeds money. Public risk, private profit.

That kind of cronyism is something that the left used to get riled up about. No more, as long as it’s their cronies in office getting the kickbacks and the campaign funds.

Missy on March 26, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Oh, we’re getting railroaded all right. At high speed.

gordo on March 26, 2013 at 5:00 PM

The Formerly golden State is Golden again!

ToddPA on March 26, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Oh yea ……. golden like a shower.

oldfiveanddimer on March 26, 2013 at 5:09 PM

a bigger bust is light rail. Billions spent for no particular purpose other than local politicians fleecing taxpayers at state and federal levels.

Its still early in the scheme of things for light rail, but if it goes according to plan, light rail will entice more people to give up their cars and suburbs to repopulate urban areas. That, for the statists is supposed to eventually provide an environment where the serfs are easier to control.

hawkeye54 on March 26, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Public transportation is one place where concealed carry is must. Best just to avoid it.

Dasher on March 26, 2013 at 5:23 PM

WASF

myiq2xu on March 26, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Your Vegas idea sounds great but if it were going to be profitable on its own it would have been done already.

Amtrak once ran the “Desert Wind” train service from Los Angeles to Las Vegas especially suited for the gambling crowd….gave up on rail in the early 90s IIRC and now offers BUS service from LA’s Union Station to Las Vegas, twice daily.

hawkeye54 on March 26, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Public transportation is one place where concealed carry is must. Best just to avoid it.

Wish I could. I commute via light rail to downtown LA and there are times when having CC would be comforting, because the so-called protection and enforcement offered by Los Angeles County Sheriff is virtually non-existent for all practical purposes. As is often the case, in a critical situation, they are minutes away when seconds count.

hawkeye54 on March 26, 2013 at 5:26 PM

I think high speed rail can have a use but it should be done right. We don’t need the government making up arbitrary routes that don’t have a huge demand. Lets do it intelligently and privately.

I’ve been saying for awhile that the first high speed rail should be two lines, one from LA to Las Vegas and one from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Paid for by the casinos. With the latter maybe being the first since there’s no faults or other common natural disasters to worry about. Get the kinks out and then build the other.

I know I’d shoot up to Vegas more often if I could drive over to the station and take a bullet train up in a couple hours. It’d most likely end up quicker then flying since you don’t have all of the airline nonsense and should be quite a bit cheaper too.

Azath on March 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

IF it gets up and running the TSA will be all over it. They are already moving into other light rail services and random highway stops. Another plus for democratics, -more greedy-union jobs, more political contributions from same.

slickwillie2001 on March 26, 2013 at 6:15 PM

I think high speed rail can have a use but it should be done right. We don’t need the government making up arbitrary routes that don’t have a huge demand. Lets do it intelligently and privately.

I’ve been saying for awhile that the first high speed rail should be two lines, one from LA to Las Vegas and one from Phoenix to Las Vegas. Paid for by the cashinos. With the latter maybe being the first since there’s no faults or other common natural disasters to worry about. Get the kinks out and then build the other.

I know I’d shoot up to Vegas more often if I could drive over to the station and take a bullet train up in a couple hours. It’d most likely end up quicker then flying since you don’t have all of the airline nonsense and should be quite a bit cheaper too.

Azath on March 26, 2013 at 4:14 PM

IF it gets up and running the TSA will be all over it. They are already moving into other light rail services and random highway stops. Another plus for democratics, -more greedy-union jobs, more political contributions from same.

slickwillie2001 on March 26, 2013 at 6:16 PM

Ohio considered “higher speed rail” prior to Kasich winning. It would have connected Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati. Luckily Kasich said no go. Had it passed the state the state would have subsidized half the cost of each ticket for years to come. Boondoggles.

Somebody is getting rich off this crap.

CW on March 26, 2013 at 7:38 PM

When asked for results LaHood keeps repeating “We’ve invested $12 billion”.

Mission accomplished.

aquaviva on March 26, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Ohio considered “higher speed rail” prior to Kasich winning. It would have connected Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati. Luckily Kasich said no go. Had it passed the state the state would have subsidized half the cost of each ticket for years to come. Boondoggles.

Somebody is getting rich off this crap.

CW on March 26, 2013 at 7:38 PM

Oh, that story here in OH has more convolutions than a John le Carre’ spy novel. Or a timber rattler with a case of the heaves, FTM.

The “3C” line was originally proposed as “light rail”. Then it became “HSR” when that replaced “LR” as the popular buzzword. What it would have been was a passenger-only line that ran hourly, meaning at least six “consists” on the move at all times.

The planning was, to put it charitably, childish. Columbus mayor Michael Coleman was determined to have a streetcar system to “grace ouah streets” (his pronunciation, verbatim) and demanded that the LR/HSR system be hooked to it. No, there was no way to explain to the bozoid that a streetcar and a freakin’ high-speed train are two entirely different breeds of animal.

Then, the state ws going to “expropriate” the Baltimore & Ohio right-of-way, and track, under “eminent domain”, to avoid paying B&O road fees. This ended up in court. The state lost.

At that point, someone pointed out that the maximum safe speed on the B&O trackage was not the 100 MPH+ the HSR visionaries dreamed of, but closer to 45 MPH, which is about as fast as any engineer who isn’t a damn fool wants to go through OH anyway. (Crossings, switching yards, etc.)

No problem, say the state. To make our train look like high-speed, we’ll just restrict all other trains in the state to under 30 MPH!

Oops again. There’s a Federal law against states pulling that trick. It goes back to the days when states would put speed restrictions on rail lines unless they paid special “road taxes”, which were little more than protection money. Which they would not charge to certain “politically favored” lines. DOT should have stepped on this, but it was actually Common Cause that blew the whistle, forcing the courts to warn the state off.

Next gambit; build an entirely new line parallel to the B&O roadbed. This was when it really started moving. That is, a bunch of would-be high rollers (like several well-connected unions) bought land either side of the B&O track for peanuts, anticipating re-selling it to the state at a big markup. (And giving big state Democrats “contributions” by way of saying “thank you”.)

While this was going on, the state was also having legally-required studies done to determine economic viability. They all said; it’ll never pay for itself. The response? Hire another firm to do another study. Ohio went through twelve cycles of this in three years.

The Dems’ dream, basically, was to have a “private line” at taxpayers’ expense to squire big donors back and forth from Columbus to Cincy and Cleveland for Reds and Bengals games. Wine ‘em, dine ‘em, and hit ‘em up for the big bucks.

Along comes Kasich, who says, “this is crazy, and every study says so”, and cancels the whole shebang.

LaHood & Co. explode. Basically on the principle of “our friends have already bought the land to sell to you at an inflated price, our union friends want their workers on the job on your nickel, now shut up and do as you’re told!”

Kasich said, “See ya in court”.

That’s pretty much where it stands today. The Democrat-run combine is still determined to build this “Big Dig on Steroids” boondoggle; Kasich is still saying “make me”.

Look for it to resurface, like a vampire, if a Democrat wins the next gubernatorial election in OH.

clear ether

eon

eon on March 26, 2013 at 9:39 PM

When asked for results LaHood keeps repeating “We’ve invested $12 billion”.

Mission accomplished.

aquaviva on March 26, 2013 at 7:43 PM

That stuck out to me, too. It’s the amount of money poured into it that matters to him, and not the results. He’d be even more pleased with himself if it had cost even more.

theperfecteconomist on March 26, 2013 at 9:45 PM

High speed rail, low speed rail. Forward!…..to the 19th century.

tngmv on March 26, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Great, now the United States is officially more corrupt than China.

Riposte on March 27, 2013 at 6:54 AM

Well… better late than never…

Who’s left… has MSNBC reported it yet? Post a link if they have, I need some comedy this afternoon.

Smoovious on March 27, 2013 at 2:16 PM