San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Debra Saunders' article, The Democrats' New Pork: Trains to Nowhere, at Real Clear Politics, points out how newly elected Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin are rejecting high speed rail projects the feds are trying to force on them. Only those fiscal fool Democrats in California are still steaming full speed towards yet another politically correct train wreck.
Reading Saunders' article inspired me to check on the latest developments of our own budget-busting, one-hundred-mile-long boondoggle here in New Mexico, the Rail Runner. Destined to someday be known as Richardson's Folly, this tax-devouring deception was conceived by carpetbagger, Democrat Governor, Bill Richardson, when he still had presidential aspirations and knew that high speed rail was a favored icon of the PC Democrat base and a guaranteed resumé enhancer for a Democrat presidential contender.
Rubber-stamped by a compliant, Democrat-controlled New Mexico legislature, the project was designed to provide commuter rail travel between those two major metropolises of Santa Fe, population 74,000, and Albuquerque, population, 530,000, which just happen to be state's two Democrat strongholds. You don't need to be a nuclear scientist at Los Alamos to determine that linking two such disparate population centers means you have a very limited passenger pool on one side of your equation, so limited that it can't possibly provide the ridership necessary to generate the revenues to sustain operations. Yes, it was predicted by Democrat proponents that those Albuquerque residents who worked in state government offices in the capital, Santa Fe, would all give up their car keys and jump on the train for their daily commutes. Yeah right. Liberal Democrats may exhibit lemming-like behavior but most still prefer to drive themselves off the cliff. Sold to New Mexicans taxpayers as a $130 million project, the actual costs are now at almost $500 million and still sucking up tax dollars. Ridership is minimal and only heavy subsidies from the taxpayers are keeping this turkey on track. Oh, and as this latest Rail Runner update at New Mexico Watchdog shows, high speed rail isn't always so high speed. Even a politically correct, über liberal, New Mexico Democrat isn't likely to surrender his car keys and climb aboard this slow-mo-in-snow, commuter con game and spend four hours traveling 70 miles.
Bill Richardson's not the only thing no longer on a fast track. He wanted a legacy. He's got one.