Skip to comments.Deadbeat, bankrupt Illinois now in charge of high-speed rail buying spree
Posted on 04/28/2013 4:48:14 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
SPRINGFIELD Illinois is looking for the railroad equivalent of a unicorn a super-fast, super-clean, super-cheap locomotive that is not real.
The Federal Railroad Administration has placed Illinois in charge of buying 35 new, next generation locomotives to serve the to-be built high-speed rail lines in Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, California and Washington, even though the locomotives do not yet exist.
Currently these are not being manufactured, said Joe Schacter, high-speed rail point man for the Illinois Department of Transportation. We are fully confident that such a locomotive can be manufactured and will be manufactured.
Schacter said Illinois has $175 million to spend $5 million per locomotive.
It may end-up being more expensive, Schacter added, though he noted California did not spend all of its $352 million for high-speed rail passenger cars.
The $175 million comes from federal grants, but Illinois will end-up owning the high-speed trains when they are delivered. Kristina Rasmussen, executive vice president of the Illinois Policy Institute, said that should worry anyone who knows about Illinois and its current fiscal state..
The state of Illinois should (not) be in the habit of buying anything right now, Rasmussen said as she pointed to Illinois $9 billion in unpaid bills. If anything, they should be selling off assets to get rid of things we cant afford.
Schacter said Illinois, Missouri, and Michigan still have to work out who will own which locomotives. Schacter said those states want to make sure Amtrak can share the new engines.
I hope locomotive makes are willing to wait, given Illinois history of non-payment, Rasmussen added.
Rasmussen calls Illinois high-speed rail project a boondoggle that has seen government spend a lot of money in the hope that high speed rail will succeed.
(Locomotives) are a huge asset to purchase, not knowing what energy efficiency will look like, Rasmussen said. Ten years from now, who knows what technology will look like. But (the state) will be locked into what will then be last-generation technology.
The FRA has already spent $1.3 billion on new railroad tracks and will spend millions more to upgrade train signaling along the Chicago to St. Louis route.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn bragged on the new track last year when an Amtrak train hit 110 mph over a short stretch between Pontiac and Dwight. Quinn was bragging again last month, when the FRA tapped Illinois to buy the new locomotives.
This decision by the federal government is a testament to Illinois role as a national leader in high-speed rail, Governor Quinn said.
But Schacter is more realistic about Illinois role.
At the moment were running only 5 or 6 percent of (the Chicago to St. Louis corridor) at 110 mph, Schacter said. The total 110 mph time, at the moment, is seven or eight miles.
But Schacter said even the few miles, between Pontiac and Dwight, that see a few 110 mph runs each day is a good test.
Rasmussen said taxpayers shouldnt be paying so much for a test.
They may be going super-fast for 10 miles, but 10 miles further down the stretch you come to a complete stop to let trains pass you, Rasmussen said. You are not seeing the kind of major improvements people thought theyd be seeing out of high-speed rail.
IDOT has said it hopes to have the Chicago to St. Louis corridor ready for high-speed trains by 2017. But even then, the fast trains will only run from about 70 miles south of Chicago to about 20 miles north of St. Louis. The trains will have to slow down for the seven stops and other towns along the way.
Ooohhh, they can spend $5 million dollars for each next-generation locomotives.
Seriously, whose pocket is this money going into?
Sounds a little bit like the Wright Brothers’ contract in 1908. No one thought they could fulfill it.
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I don’t why it is needed.. If Willie Green was here I would know what he would say..
That's one letter away from being a really good acronym.
I’d wager Mr. Soros has an interest in some way or another. GE also builds locomotives.
Or Warren Buffett.
You can have efficient, inexpensive locomotives, and you can have them today.
Just picks two of the three most wanted.
One can drive from Chocago to St. Louis in about 5 hours and two tanks of gas. I’ve done it more than once. How is a train, no matter how fast, going to compete with that?
In California, Mr. Diane Fienstien is getting a lot of money to build the tracks.
I’m surprised the state is building this.. Considering how broke this state is and supposedly how bad the bridges and roads are.. I can go up to 140 mph, but I won’t...
Even a tank would make it there on one tank of gas (but would take all day).
As if Rearden would sell those idiots the steel rails for those imaginary locomotives to run on.
IDOT ... can I buy a vowel?
The real challenge will be to find a locomotive that will pass California clean air standards.
How about no.. We have a thing called an airplane.. It is faster then the maglev..
Which happens to be in...C(r)ook Country, Illinois!
This will never be built. This money is being sent to Illinois so Mike Madigan can steal it.
“The real challenge will be to find a locomotive that will pass California clean air standards.”
Maybe a REALLY BIG pedal car??
Airplanes are technical Tom foolery. a big fat local government rail project full of graft is the way to go, don’tcha know.
Yep. Electro-Motive. And every worker is a union worker.
I will guarantee that these locomotives are going to be white and elephant like in every respect.
A true high speed rail line should be capable of 220 mph over every single mile of track. Hitting 110 mph on a 7 mile stretch is not only laughable, it’s a damned tragedy that anyone is taking pride in that. Worse, its the taxpayers carrying the can for these amateurs.
Trains were doing 110 mph back in 1934 - and doing it regularly.
and of course Princess Lisa will never send her daddy to jail.. The only reason Blago was arrested he never played their own rules. He wanted to do things his way.
Aaah I get it. ;)
Ah, a case of a bankrupt state trying to extradite itself by spending a fortune (I know it seems like our Federal Government). They are learning how to destroy themselves via their supporters.
They will go under - eventually - but who cares except the local folks. The Feds will bail them out..until they can’t!
RE: We have a thing called an airplane.. It is faster then the maglev..
Ahh, but how environmentally friendly is it compared to mag lev? Obuttma wants to know :)
All of these”Havens of The DemonRats”are going BANKRUPT!What a surprise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But again they didn’t start building airports before the Wrights had actually turned out some capable craft.
llinois Put in Charge of Rail Buying Spree ( Obama’s Slush Fund )
“Hi. I’m your host Con Cornelius and this week on Money Train we have Pat Quinn with his new soulful rendition of FILLIN MY POCKETS WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.”
“The Money Train dancers will now show you their latest moves to Rahm Emmanuel’s new hit HOLD ME CLOSER TINY DANCER.”
Yep. Some of the money will go for the railroad and a lot of the money will go to politically connected cronies under sham businesses or phony govt offices. These people shouldn’t be in charge of anything.
Dear Mr. Schacter: I’m sure that one day pigs will fly so it will be expensive to get them to the slaughterhouse.
Meanwhile, back in reality, bud...
The wright Brothers were mechanics and tinkerers. They had real machinery to work with, not something that didn’t really exist.
a 110 MPH train running only on short runs is fuel expensive and a total mechanical waste for the rest of the run.
Just imagine how much security that railroad line is going to need in the future (railroads are easy targets for terrorists).
This sounds and smells alot like a scam I witnessed several years ago in a large mid western city. A group was selling season tickets to a non existent MLB Team. Team to be formed/brought to the city in the “future”. Needless to say, the city still exists, the MLB team does not.
The wright Brothers were mechanics and tinkerers. They had real machinery to work with, not something that didnt really exist.
***Most people at the time thought they were charlatans, until the army opened up a contract and the Wright brothers delivered to it. This contract looks similar. If someone delivers to it, the contract is the right thing. If not, then the money won’t be spent as far as I can tell.
If passenger service were viable the Illinois Central would still be running that service. Idiots!