CNN story: The only thing ‘high speed’ about ‘high speed rail’ so far is the speed at which the money is being spent

By Doug Powers  •  March 27, 2013 11:57 AM


Joe Biden once laughingly (does Joe say anything that isn’t?) referred to former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood as the “conductor of the train to the future.”

According to the CNN story below, the “train to the future” is a boondoggle — a slow boondoggle — so slow that it just got passed by a Greyhound bus.

Here’s a quote from CNN reporter Drew Griffin:

“This was sold as ‘high speed rail.’ People thought they were getting high speed rail. The bullet trains… that’s what they’re selling, that’s what they’re showing to us. But if you look at what was happening in Washington State, you know, right now, after $800 million, it’s still cheaper and, many times, faster, to take the Greyhound bus from Seattle to Portland. So what was that investment all about? It wasn’t about high speed rail. It was just about fixing up Amtrak, fixing up the low speed rail, and really making freight trains move a little better — but not high speed rail.”

He left out one thing it’s about: Lining pockets. Follow the money.

Video on the Sham-O-Tron via Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Watch Ray LaHood’s epic high speed rail sales pitch turn into a pause so pregnant it should have been given prenatal vitamins after being asked when we’re actually going to see true “high speed rail”:

Cooper had better be careful with these stories exposing the administration’s pet boondoggles — he might ruin his chance at gettinghired by NBC.

Update: Thomas emails and points out that if you pause the above video at the 1:19 mark, behind LaHood appears an interesting acronym.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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  1. On March 27th, 2013 at 12:06 pm, rambler said:

    Why do politicians think that high speed rail is future of anything? Why are they so hung up on this? Necessity is the mother of invention. High speed rail isn’t necessary.Why is it that EVERYTHING the public wants, the politicians want to destroy and everything the public doesn’t want, we get forced upon us? High speed rail is the American equivalent of empty Chines cities. Whose greater good is being served here? What’s at the end of the high speed rail? A re-education camp?

  2. #2
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:12 pm, Dasher said:

    I think the only purpose of high-speed rail and light rail is to spend other peoples money as fast as possible. There is no practical purpose for any of these projects.

  3. #3
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:19 pm, NavyGal said:

    Same boondoggle going on here in the Detroit area. The city is nearly bankrupt without basic services like street lights, and reasonable police and EMT response times, but OH, did we ever need a train to provide service up and down Woodward Avenue. Morons.

  4. #4
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:23 pm, squeeze127 said:

    The only high speed rail in America is the North East Corridor and it is mainly a passenger route and is electrified. The freight railroads are running almost at peak capacity now and Amtrak has a horrible “on-time” rate because of the freight. So the only way to establish any high speed rail here, it must accompany new right-of-ways and become electrified. With today’s NIMBY’s you would have to pay an extremely high price for land and lawyers to get the r-o-w. Electrifying that route would bankrupt China, so high speed rail is nothing more than a “pipe dream.” We could go on in more depth but it would chew up quite a bit more space. The basics of HSR is too cost prohibitive to to build and there would be little return on investment.

  5. #5
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:24 pm, MaverickThrowbacksaid:

    Same knucklheads who want the USPS to deliver 8 days/week.

  6. #6
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:24 pm, J S Ragman said:

    The only thing ‘high speed’ about ‘high speed rail’ so far is the speed at which the money is being spent

    In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning.

  7. #7
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:33 pm, DonkeyHoatie said:

    People have these grand visions of Japanese or European style rail systems, and they forget that the US is a very different country.

    The European trains largely run routes that are a couple hundred miles long, and over mostly flat terrain. And when they do hit mountains (eg. the TGV in the Alps) they slow waaay down to handle the grades and curves.

    The Japanese made theirs work despite the terrain because they have incredibly dense population centers, so people don’t have to travel very far to get to the train station, and it’s easier to get to a train station than it is to get to an airport.

    The only “high speed rail” currently in the works in the US, as cited by the video, is the one in California, to build a link between 2 cities that are already heavily serviced by airlines. A flight from the LA area to the SF area costs about $60, takes 1 hour, and has terminals all over the LA and SF regions. The train will have single start/stop points, will take 3-4 hours, and will cost $200 or more.

  8. #8
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:38 pm, Flyoverman said:

    The high speed rail plan appears to follow the Tree Swing Model.

  9. #9
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:48 pm, Pasadena Phil said:

    They still refer to CA’s boondoggle as the “Bullet” train even though there is nothing “bullet” about it. And they still refer to the expected cost to be around $70B when everyone knows that it will be multiples of that.

    Shut the whole thing down. We have enough catastrophes heading our way already, especially RombamaCare catastrophe which we learned to day will increase our healthcare bills by and average of 32% (62% in CA and 80% in MI and MD). The economic math doesn’t work on the macro nor on the micro level. We are headed for global bankruptcy = world war.

  10. #10
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:50 pm, happyscrapper said:

    This is how regressives spend OUR hard-earned money! Haven’t we been screwed enough? Government has been by-passing the will of the People for a long time now. Just look at what is happening in the SC right now. 30 states voted down gay marriage and yet the issue is at the Supreme Court. Apparently, We the People no longer have a voice. If they don’t like how we vote, just disregard the results. If they aren’t stopped soon, there will be NOTHING left to save.

  11. #11
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:52 pm, txvet2 said:

    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:23 pm, squeeze127 said:

    The biggest problem slowing down AMTRAK is the fact that the current rail infrastructure simply isn’t built for high speed and the frequency of derailments of even slow freight trains implies disaster if the passenger trains actually tried to go as fast as they can.

    I used to take the train to and from college back in the day. It wasn’t fast, but it was cheap and some of my friends and classmates used to take the same route, so we could entertain ourselves on the way.

  12. #12
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:54 pm, Rogue Cheddar said:

    I’m offended by the term “Bullet” train! I find the violent rhetoric reprehensible!
    That is all.

  13. #13
    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:55 pm, happyscrapper said:

    It is interesting how often the projects of the regressives come in WAAAY over budget. Why is that? I will tell you. They lie about the cost from the beginning. And they continually get away with it. When will someone actually check the accuracy of their numbers before approving somthing? Look what has happened with obamacare. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE will be able to afford health insurance. So, instead of insuring all the poor…they will just created MORE POOR without health insurance. I am thinking a public execution would be a nice ending to the regressive story.

  14. #14
    On March 27th, 2013 at 1:00 pm, Thunderbolt said:

    Here in central NC, we’ve got a contingent of regressive and developers who have been touting light rail commuter projects for 30 years.

    Every year, they get grants and funding to do feasibility studies or God knows what else, and every year they’re told that the system is impractical and unsustainable. There aren’t enough riders, the topography is not conducive, the projects would displace lots of existing residential and commercial build-ups,etc. Upgrades to the existing mass transit and road network will accommodate the region’s needs at a much lower cost.

    In the Research Triangle Park area, the Triangle Transit Authority drives empty busses all around every day, but they insist that a light rail project will bring in more riders.

    Yet every year, they get their funding and spend our money trolling for a different answer. For thirty years we’ve been told that light rail is a reality, but so far we have no tracks, just a lot of taxpayer money thrown away.

  15. #15
    On March 27th, 2013 at 1:03 pm, RedDog said:

    But if you look at what was happening in Washington State, you know, right now, after $800 million, it’s still cheaper and, many times, faster, to take the Greyhound bus…..

    The state of my birth. I am familiar with this rail line too. Good grief. How much more of this assault can we take before the people rise up and squash these crooks?

    Follow the money indeed. We need a national prosecutorial task force set up to begin taking down this US Government racket that the DC politicos have been working so adeptly.

    Remember to separate our government from the corrupt people in control of it. Identify them, freeze them, polarize them, remove them…

  16. #16
    On March 27th, 2013 at 1:08 pm, Flyoverman said:

    In terms of the wisdom of the CA project, remember this is the state that mandated its citizens BUY a certain percentage of electric cars by 2025.

    How does that happen?

  17. #17
    On March 27th, 2013 at 1:14 pm, Hangfire said:

    At least Hawaii’s Democrats admit that the rail system being built on Oahu will not alleviate the traffic problems. We have some of the worst traffic in the nation. Go figure.

    Our rail project was all about jobs. Union jobs. And using the money that Uncle Sam has offered.

  18. #18
    On March 27th, 2013 at 1:24 pm, DocScience said:

    Freedom is a dangerous and scary thing.
    People just hopping in a car and going someplace. Without supervision or approval.

    Why? Is this trip really needed?
    Who? Should this person be allowed to go?
    Where? Do we really WANT this person in this place?

    The solution: Tickets with ID required.

  19. #19
    On March 27th, 2013 at 1:26 pm, DesertLover said:

    Wednesday Afternoon PoD … enjoy … :lol:

  20. #20
    On March 27th, 2013 at 1:26 pm, granite said:

    On March 27th, 2013 at 12:06 pm, rambler said:

    Why do politicians think that high speed rail is future of anything?

    Why is it that EVERYTHING the public wants, the politicians want to destroy and everything the public doesn’t want, we get forced upon us?

    Read more:

One thought on “CNN story: The only thing ‘high speed’ about ‘high speed rail’ so far is the speed at which the money is being spent

  1. High speed rail is a part of the sustainability movement.
    Read “Behind the Green Mask: UN Agenda 21” by Rosa Koire
    “UN Agenda 21-Environmental Piracy” by Dr. Ilena Johnson Paugh

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