Monday, February 28, 2011

High Speed To Insolvency

Why liberals love trains.

by George Will - February 27th, 2011 - Newsweek

Remarkably widespread derision has greeted the Obama administration’s damn-the-arithmetic-full-speed-ahead proposal to spend $53 billion more (after the $8 billion in stimulus money and $2.4 billion in enticements to 23 states) in the next six years pursuant to the president’s loopy goal of giving “80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.” “Access” and “high-speed” to be defined later.

After I changed my original college major from Architecture to City Planning, I was exposed to a great deal of the 'mob uniformity' demanded by liberal practitioners of the City Planning concept. I lived in Atlanta at the time and was amazed at the waste involved in changing a city designed around the automobile to a city designed around the train. MARTA, Metropolitan Area Rapid Transit Atlanta, fascinated the professors at Georgia Tech and they made everyone study the process closely. There was tremendous information about the huge cost overuns that were probable, and how unlikely the glowing predictions of usage would be true. Yet they jammed MARTA through and damn the costs. They called those high speed trains too. In reality, because they are very slow at acceleration and stopping, the only place trains are high speed on average is in areas where they do not stop and start. Long distances is not where they make money though so where they are usually used they are never high speed.

Cars versus trains -- they are nearly mutually incompatible concepts. Two examples are the cities of Los Angeles and New York.

Los Angeles was based on the car, and was vastly more effective at building a city that was cost effective and allowed for rapid free movement of people. The reason that so many are aware of the big traffic jams so fondly promoted by those who hate Los Angeles, is that they are temporary anomalies. For 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours at night, the freeways do not work as designed. For the other 20 hours a day, they are the most magnificent transportation system in the world.

New York on the other hand is an abomination. It was based on the train. Since the trains are not effective unless backed up by buses and cabs, the fact that most of the day you cannot get around because of the limitations of the system are ignored by the liberal lovers of 'mob uniformity'. The buses and cabs are not around for much of the night so you are seriously constrained if you want to go somewhere while the system, i.e. the needed support components, is shut down.

As noted in the article, cars are more energy efficient than trains as well. It is obvious when you look at the huge weight of trains when only a few people are on them, they are consuming huge amounts of energy for nothing.

Trains also only serve 7% of a city. Trains are asinine and ridiculous wastes of money. No where do trains make money except on one or two highly concentrated lines in rare conditions. They absorb huge subsidies for the bulk of every system ever created.

Of course for those government lovers who never look at cost benefit, that is irrelevant. They want them and they are determined to have them. The reason is simple. They want to get YOU off their highways so their movement in a car is not impeded.

You did not stupidly think the important people in government were going to ride on trains did you?


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