Monday, April 27, 2009

Welcome to the future!

The future, apparently, involves lots of high-speed trains. These trains will move at slower speeds than airplanes, operate along fixed routes, and require billions of dollars in public funding. They will take you to your destination, where you must then rent a car or rely upon public transportation. In other words, they will be exactly the same as an airplane, except they will take longer and only serve a specific geographic area.

I'm willing to grant that some of the east coast lines might not be totally moronic. Certainly a waste of money and resources, but hey, that's what government is for. Some of the other lines, though, are something straight out of an Onion article.

1. a Keystone corridor running laterally through Pennsylvania: I'm not all that familiar with Pennsylvania, but is there really that much need for a lateral line? Doesn't driving a car cover this without requiring renting a car at the other end?

2. a southeast network connecting the District of Columbia to Florida and the Gulf Coast: this network exists. It involves planes, airports, and a fraction of the time spent traveling.

3. a Gulf Coast line extending from eastern Texas to western Alabama: this one has to be a joke.

4. a corridor in central and southern Florida: again, cars.

5. a Texas-to-Oklahoma line: I'm sure the 7 people riding this every week will appreciate it.

6. a California corridor where voters have already approved a line that will allow travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two and a half hours: how long does it take to drive this route? What's the real savings if a car has to be rented at the other end?

7. a corridor in the Pacific Northwest: I'm sure Seattle will appreciate a few billion federal dollars to mildly increase its tourism industry.

“What we need, then, is a smart transportation system equal to the needs of the 21st century,” [Obama] said

I know when I think about 21st century transportation, the first thing that springs to mind is a train.


At 3:36 AM, April 28, 2009 , Anonymous Amitabha Mukhopadhyay said...

Fantastic article. The American bullet trains which will materialze after twenty years from now if we consider the infrastructural problems to be faced would be hardly able to make profit. Any country's transport problem is to be addressed considering the size of country. A vast land mass like America which is again sparsely populated can not be compared with Europe or Japan. For the detailed engineering aspect of transportation and living in a future megacity in the year 2080 please visit the website.

At 3:58 AM, April 28, 2009 , Blogger Vernunft said...

Yes, the PA idea is retarded. There has been talk of a much less ambitious train just connecting Reading and Norristown (covering, oh, one-fifth of the east-west distance of the state) that has never materialized because of its minimal benefits. And that would have actually helped at least one commuter.

There is no good reason to go from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, except to attend my graduation (this means you, Auskunft).

There is a reason the old Reading Railroad came and went. Guess what? When we took all the coal out of PA, it ended up not being important having trains all over the place. Economic efficiency wins again!

At 11:40 AM, April 28, 2009 , Blogger Auskunft said...

If I could ride a train across the state rather than drive myself, I could play Mario Kart DS or Phantom Hourglass the whole way. That would be so much a better use of my time. I demand many millions of dollars for subsidized DS playing.

At 12:08 PM, April 28, 2009 , Anonymous Nick Milne said...

you guys are just racists

train racists


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