A national spider-web of high-speed rail is being pushed throughout America despite proof of “insolvency” and “never-ending subsidies.” Taxpayers need to know!
The fast-track towards US High-Speed-Rail was funded in the 2009 Stimulus, based on the President’s “80% High-Speed Rail 25-Year Plan,” even though the $10.1 Billion appropriate was quickly allocated, the high priority for deficit-reduction in the House of Representatives 2011 Budget, eliminated federal funds and High-Speed-Rail was derailed!
High Speed Rail Doomed: Too Expensive!
The Reason Foundation report forecasts U.S. High Speed Rail failure! European travel compared to America is apples-to-orange, because European rail transportation began pre-automobile, leading to the natural development of a full-service transportation system. This can’t be duplicated in America’s car-culture that provides cheaper and independent personalized travel. Reason.org reports the figures: Construction costs are $10 Million per mile and operational costs of $50,000 per seat, translating to $2.4 Billion for a 240-mile track that requires 6-to-9 million passengers to break even! The odds are against 25% of the country, as passenger ridership is concentrated in the highly populated New England corridor, monopolizing three-fourths of all US passengers, leaving all other projects scrambling for riders, subsidy-driven dollars and taxpayer obligations.
Treasure Coast Florida or New York’s Grand Central Terminal?
Similar to the Seven/50 Regional Planners in Florida, highly paid speculators pitch the Federal Railroad Administration and Department of Transportation goals for High-Speed-Rail to serve as a catalyst for growth, increase mobility, reduce national oil dependency, foster livable urban and rural communities, improve safety, maximize economic returns, environmental sustainability with US 33% greenhouse emissions.
On the other side of the fence! The International Energy Agency affirms that emissions in America are down to 1992 levels and California Air Resources Board recommends many more cost-effective ways to improve the air than through High-Speed-Rail! In truth, a massive train network will blast through America’s peaceful hometown communities: creating pollution, congestion, adding to higher density, enormous construction and funding costs while inflicting untold stress on overburdened economies!
Taxpayers Choose Savings: As Debt Rushes Towards $18 Trillion!
The ticket to rail success is selling tickets! On Amtrak’s Boston-Washington DC corridor, one-way tickets range from $146 – $420 per person, at $3.50 a gallon for the 438-mile trip, the $97.00 cost for car travel wins! Plus, the savings for door-to-door convenience, unlike train travel.
The Truth! There Are No High-Speed Trains in America!
In Ryan Holeywell’s 2013 article “Has High-Speed-Rail Been Derailed?” he emphasizes that High-Speed-Rail has not been achieved in America! The US Code defines high-speed as: “reasonably expected to reach sustained speeds of more than 125 miles per hour,” while Amtrak’s Acela Express, the only classified High-Speed-Rail, uses a flawed rating based on “sharing tracks with others trains.” Virtually the tracks alone create the need to average speeds, thus, preventing “sustained speeds of 125 miles per hour.” Travel speed times are easily distorted by adding, or dropping, train stops and, if the objective for HSR is to move people faster, High Speed Rail remains a fantasy!
California Budget-Busting High-Speed-Rail Boondoggle
While the California San Francisco-Los Angeles projects another $43 Billion from the Feds, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) argues that satisfying this obligation will be more than ALL national grants combined for subway, light-rail and bus transit. “Where is the money?”
California Congressman Jeff Denham, House Subcommittee on Rails, skeptical of the California business plan, forced transparency from Governor Jerry Brown who admitted his plan is to use Cap-and-Trade Pollution Trade Funds to match $2.5 Billion state obligation. This funding is highly controversial and Kathryn Phillips, Director of The Sierra Club, has aligned with the Tea Party against High-Speed-Rail. While the deadline for matching funds looms, the entire project hangs in balance, but Governor Brown aggressively pursues HSR!
Major problems are escalating in the first High-Speed rail state, even though Californians approved a $10 billion bond issue six years ago, they are now fraught with confusion and anger! Joe Nation, a public policy professor at Stanford University, reflected the frustration to the San Jose Mercury News “this could turn into a real nightmare.” Conflicts explode over imminent domain grabs, water issues delayed 20 years behind rail, inflated ridership projections and low ticket prices creating endless subsidies.
Yes Nevada’s Senator Harry Reid, presses to reactivate his $5.5 Billion stimulus monies cancelled when the supplier was revealed as the Canadian Bombardier Company, in direct violation of the Buy-America law.
All Aboard Florida – Private Industry Hijacks Taxpayers!
As soon as Florida turned down a federal grant for HSR, Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) conveniently introduced “All Aboard Florida” – the first private high-speed railway. Since FECI owns the rail corridor, and strategic building plots in Miami and Orlando, this will be profitable venture for their bottom line, but Treasure Coast taxpayers, with already-strained budgets, are required to pony-up millions to implement AAF’s private venture and then endure the environmental-assault of 35 round-trip “sort-of-high-speed trains” as they whiz through, once peaceful, beachside communities. No profit for Treasure Coast taxpayers!
Treasure Coast Vs. Grand Central Station?
Before “All Aboard Florida,” Florida Department of Transportation and Amtrak, were discussing new Miami-Orlando passenger service with seven new stations stops! If all of these projected plans eventuate, the lifestyle of paradise along the Treasure Coast will be transformed into the hectic pace of Grand Central Station! When tourism is Florida’s shining star, and money-maker, why would efforts continue to diminish this success?
Let Failure Be the Guide for the Wise!
Randal O’Toole of the Cato Institute in his article: “Defining Success, The Case Against Rail Transit,” outlines what All Aboard Florida could have in store for their bottom line! The Miami-West Palm 1989-debacle that cost the SE Florida Regional Transportation Authority (Tri-Rail) $53 million, with a $9 million return and $1 Billion capital improvement for double tracking of 71 miles, was projected to create 30,000 new riders and, astoundingly in 2008, resulted in a meager 13,000 new riders. Pretty steep fare at $76,923 per new customer! The good news is that sensible riders chose the $14.62 car travel instead! Failure still looms with Tri-Rail’s $30 million deficit!
The heroes in this grand-picture are Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Governor John Kasich of Ohio and Florida’s Governor Rick Scott – who used wise judgment to reject federal grants and put taxpayer concerns above speculation. Governor Scott saw the writing on the wall, when comparing the proposed ridership of 3 million, to the busy New York Acela’s real riders of 3.2 million, highlighting a highly unobtainable goal. Hopefully this story rings-a-bell for politicians rushing towards a doomed financial fiasco!
Taxpayer Loyalty Pays, While Breaking the Bank Does NOT Pay!
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