Skip to comments.Republicans prohibit funding for high speed rail
Posted on 02/03/2012 2:42:03 PM PST by SmithL
House Republicans late Thursday night adopted an amendment that would prohibit California from receiving any high speed rail money in a huge five-year transportation bill headed to the House floor next week. The $270 billion bill also eliminates bicycle and pedestrian programs and detaches urban mass transit funding from its traditional revenue source. The underlying bill did not include any high speed rail funding to begin with, and indeed would cut Amtrak by 25 percent, so the prohibition serves mainly as a stick in the eye to Californias plan for bullet trains.
The action is part of a continuing effort by Republicans to kill the entire project, which was a major element of President Obamas 2009 stimulus. Californias $100 billion plan for bullet trains running from San Francisco to San Diego already has the stimulus money in hand to get started, but future federal funding on which the project depends is very much at risk if House Republicans maintain control of the chamber, not to mention take the White House.
The high speed rail prohibition came as an amendment, approved 31-22, by Rep. Jeff Dunham, R-Turlock, who said he wanted to make sure that all transportation funds for California to go to highways.
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$100 BILLION....that’s like 200 Solyndras.....and would be just as well spent...
Congress is doing California a favor. For every dollar California gets now, the taxpayers are going to be on the hook for fifty dollars when the bill comes due.
Good. Let’s just hope this amendment sticks.
No nation can long suffer such nonsense and more.
I'm confident my household is prepared. I am positive my isolated neighborhood will respond to the first hint of nearby violence when the SHTF.
What’s strange is that the Democrats are declaring the bill DOA in the Senate because it doesn’t spend enough.
Oh. Wait. They’re Democrats, so that’s actually not strange.
It also won’t be strange when the MSM blames the REpublicans exclusively for the bill’s failure, even though the GOP House DID pass a bill and the Democrat Senate DID NOT pass one.
“The Golden-State Choo-Choo is running out of steam.”
For now. It’ll be back in 20 to 50 years when the cost will be astronomically higher and the need for it obvious.
California with 35 million people can make do without it. California with 70 million people will wonder why it wasn’t done long before.
Passenger rail in America is doing just fine in places. Texas was going to have a privately owned and operated system except for aggressive lobbying and lawsuits conducted by Southwest Airlines. The result? Now the State of Texas is building the same system at taxpayer expense that could have been built by private investors.
Amtrak’s northeast corridor is profitable now that they’ve got the rails upgraded.
Passenger rail in other areas can do just fine if they have dedicated rails. The current model of running passenger trains on rails where container cargo has priority is not going to work. But that’s an argument for another topic.
What is relevant now is that while passenger rail has been struggling for decades it has been demonstrated that once a region reaches a certain population density then it becomes viable for intermediate range travel of 150 miles to up to 600 miles.
Portland-Seattle is another corridor aside from San Francisco-LA that is looking at HSR and a Portland-Seattle route makes a LOT of sense.
If passenger rail is doing good, then why is Amtrak operating at a lost?? Why did private companies stopped doing it??
The Dems are now realizing that if they let the IDIOT Republicans, that are bought over by the private toll-road lobbyists, push ahead, they can accomplish most of their goals (which is essentially blocking economic development outside of where it exists). IDIOT Republicans like Perry and Daniels are willing to sign on to IDIOTIC plans that give private companies building toll roads MONOPOLY PROTECTION against competition.
The Dems managed to pull this off in this latest transportation bill that WILL turn some of our freeways into toll roads. The IDIOT Republicans bought into it, because someone told them that private monopolies is the same as free-market capitalism - and that was enough for them (along with lots of really nice dinners in DC). It sometimes EMBARRASSES me to be known as a Republican.
“Portland-Seattle is another corridor aside from San Francisco-LA that is looking at HSR and a Portland-Seattle route makes a LOT of sense.”
Don’t try shoving that CRAP down our throats, on this site. If Portland and Seattle want to spend tens of BILLIONS on high-speed rail, they are more then welcome to. But keep DC out of it. Interstate 5 is just fine, and EVERY TIME I’ve driven it, it has done fine (aside from some jams at Tacoma).
So here’s the SOLUTION, you add a lane or two at Tacoma and maybe some other areas (i.e., cost about $500M) and you set up a bus service (even subsidized locally, if necessary) and those FEW people that don’t have to worry about ground transport in Seattle or Portland can hop the bus and have a nice ride (particularly if there’s a lavatory in the bus). The distance between these cities is 174 miles, per Google. A bus can DRIVE it in under 3 hours (maybe 3 hours and 30 minutes with some stops).
There are easy solutions to our transportation problems...we DO NOT have to run this country BROKE doing STUPID things, even if they seem romantic to some of us.
It's a five-year bill. The generic transportation bill is always for a 5-or-6 year period -- because the major construction projects it authorizes will take that time to be completed.
It's also the first transportation bill in three years, since the Senate has failed to act on a budget for that period of time.
Count it as a success...not a failure.
So, the future's problem should be resolved with 1920's technology?
I prefer Toll Roads over High Speed Choo Choos..
Spot on. Pubbies want a taste of that corporate welfare pie too. Perry is a connoisseur of government corporate welfare pie. Heck, his dessert tray of big money pay to play contributors practically funded his presidential campaign single handedly.
“I prefer Toll Roads over High Speed Choo Choos..”
Between the two, toll roads would win out. But between toll roads you have night and day. In Indiana they sold off their state-run toll road to a private company for billions of bucks. That money went into the general fund.
Guess what happens now? The drivers have to pay back that money (that went into the general fund) every time they drive (along with covering the cost of the road, but that’s a small fraction of the debt service). So it’s basically in income tax on drivers that has nothing to do with providing them a highway.
So, if tolls are used to pay for the highway (only), I can tolerate them. If they’re used as hidden way to tax the public, I have a big problem with that.
Thank you for your concern.
My issue with the objections to HSR is that they echo the objections that were made to the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956. In that period the USA had a perfectly serviceable and privately operated passenger rail network and the fanciful notion of tens of thousands of miles of super highways was denounced as a ‘boondoggle’ and as ‘wasteful’. The law failed twice in Congress due to this opposition.
Looking at the language used by opponents of HSR it’s safe to say these same people would have adamantly opposed the Interstate Highway System and for the same reasons.
I’ve also pointed out that the original proposal for HSR in Texas was to be 100% privately funded but then the program was stopped by aggressive lobbying and lawsuits paid for by Southwest Airlines. IF HSR is doomed to go broke then why did Southwest invest so much to stop it? And the actions of Southwest to stop HSR in Texas mirror the actions of the railroads in the 1950’s to stop the Interstates.
I’d give more consideration to the argument against government subsidized HSR if that were matched with demands to cease government subsidies for highways, airports, sports stadiums, and etc. But where the government subsidy genie is already out of the bottle this is sort of an empty argument to me. I recall living in Sacramento where the city was unable to come up with a few thousand dollars to fix a lawn mower for the parks but they city council had no qualms about proposing to pay up to $2 billion for an arena for the Kings.
All of that aside, I think the people who oppose HSR would oppose it with equal fervor even if it were 100% privately funded. I’d prefer to see it privately funded because, as was seen in Texas, private firms are willing to do this. But where a private firm has to spend billions on lawsuits before they can lay an inch of track it’s near to impossible to see this get done absent the power of government.
Myself, I think it is worthwhile. I’ve been on HSR in Germany and France and found it to be a lot more convenient than driving or flying. Once we have it here I think the opposition will diminish just as the one-time opposition to the Interstate Highways has diminished.