Obama's high-speed rail boondoggle already in trouble in Congress

Just last week, Vice President Joe Biden joined Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood in promoting a $53 billion plan to upgrade the nation’s railroad transportation, and the administration’s proposed budget allotted $8 billion as a start. But congressional Republicans immediately targeted the plan for elimination, then on Wednesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott pulled the plug on what had been designated by the Obama administration as its signature demonstration project: an 84-mile high-speed line between Orlando and Tampa…

In a microcosm, the debate over high-speed rail illustrates some of the problems endemic to the administration’s approach to its investment agenda.

By definition, it aims to spend in areas the private sector has been reluctant to enter. But Republicans seem genetically opposed to an expansive federal role, and the government itself is often ill-equipped to manage such investment. Meanwhile, the tangible results of the spending are so far in the future that it is difficult to generate the public support necessary to secure funding from Congress.