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September 8, 2010
A High-Speed Fantasy
From Smart Planet, Melissa Mahoney provides a glimpse into the fantasy world of "green" journalism with her article, "Obama's $50B infrastructure plan: what it means for rail."
In it, she reports:
After a year and a half, still clinging to that hope thing?
Peddling standard green fare, and parroting the newest administration canards, the author departs planet Gaia for a little high-speed fantasy adventure.
Fantasy #1. All this, for only $50 billion.
Sweet! Well...no, not really. From Transport Topics:
Fantasy #2. More jobs, and we'll get to them faster, to boot!
Who can argue with such a vision? But as Robert Samuelson wrote just over a year ago, "There's only one catch: The vision is a mirage."
Fantasy #3. New DOT manufacturing standards will actually lower costs.
When have additional government codes and standards ever lowered costs? Right...and I have some hammers to sell the Pentagon. And although slightly exaggerated, as the Washington Monthly reported regarding the legendary $435 hammer, it's "a good bet we paid too much for it," since "it's easier for contractors to overstate support costs."
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but "overstate support costs" sounds like the opposite of "lower parts acquisition costs". And although comparing different projects from different departments in different times, it still serves to illustrate the point: things are never less costly when government is involved.
Fantasy #4. Full speed ahead!
Those speed bumps might be looking a bit more like the Rockies. As the Economist states, "Cash-strapped American states are balking at the prospect of having to pay some of the costs of new high-speed rail development. "
Fantasy #5. This will not add to our national debt.
Truly? Honestly? More Kool-Aid? (Oh, and see Fantasies 1-4 above.)
Welcome back to planet Earth!