The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

VA High Speed Fail

Posted on | September 29, 2011 | 16 Comments

by Smitty

The Washington Post points to a $44mil example of why the DC madness must stop: a high-speed rail connection between DC and Richmond?

The VRE already has lines going west and south. So, if there is a business case to put in more rail service, then where is the VRE on this?

We’re fond of noting that DC sucks, as in, a couple of million people drawn into its maw daily to perform various rituals referred to as ‘work’. Thus, if there is a requirement for this high-speed rail, and it’s not just an outburst of Solyndra-ism, then it would seem that one way to retire the requirement would be to make DC suck less. That is, lopping a couple of Constitutionally tenuous executive agencies ought to do the trick.

Calinfornia’s high speed rail has either been a smashing success or not, depending on whether you’ve quaffed sufficient kool-aid. Amtrak is a rolling fail, despide the support of “BFD” Biden. Perhaps the DOT, if we can’t elect a beauro-dragon slayer to kill the DOT outright, could explain why this VA project isn’t just so much white-collar welfare.

Note that I live in Virginia, so a Lefty might argue that I’m blogging against my own economic interests. My reaction would be that being a silent accessory to something close to Yet Another Kickback Scheme is un-cool. This is the kind of crap that has to stop, ye Americans.


16 Responses to “VA High Speed Fail”

  1. Anonymous
    September 29th, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

    Sentimentally speaking, I love trains. I enoy riding on them. They evoke vivid, poetic connections to our nation’s history.

    These days, however, trains very rarely make economic sense in the United States. High speed rail projects are practically guaranteed to be boondoggles, which we absolutely cannot afford at this juncture.

    With their high speed rail projects, then, the “progressives” are finding yet another way to plunder America’s past and future. 

  2. Anonymous
    September 29th, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

    Smitty, you’re also ignoring one important thing:  No one from DC goes to Richmond!

    I’ll grant the possibility that once this gets extended farther that it might replace some of the traffic on 95, as TFA says.  But it’ll probably still be a boondoggle.  You just don’t have the same volume as you do going north, and the population density is totally different without the big cities (Philly, NY, Boston).

    There’s no way it’s worth whatever it will eventually cost.  Except for the northeast, American trains should be kept to freight.

  3. JeffS
    September 29th, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

    For clarification:

    Trains for individual travel very rarely makes economic sense. 

    Trains for hauling bulk and containerized cargo  nearly always makes economic sense.

  4. JeffS
    September 29th, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

    And the lefties want high speed commuting so they can brag that the trains run on time.

    It’s something of a tradition with them, you see.

  5. Anonymous
    September 29th, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    Absolutely. I should have specified passenger rail.

    Freight rail has been one of the best performing industry segments of the past 10+ years.

    One of the (many) problems with new passenger rail projects is that they either have to share the same lines as freight trains, which pound the hell out of the rails and make higher speeds impractical and unsafe , or they have to spend loads of money on new lines, which guarantees that the project will be an even bigger boondoggle.  

  6. ThePaganTemple
    September 29th, 2011 @ 1:30 pm

    It might become economically feasible some day, especially if enough people start getting pissed off about the way airlines are run. A lot of people might just start taking vacations in shorter distances from home. Like much anything else, it would have to be a private sector initiative, and would start out as a luxury for the first ten years or so. If it is successful at that level, then it will eventually become more and more affordable. But if the government wants it, the best thing it can do is stay the hell out of it.

  7. Anonymous
    September 29th, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    The trains running on time will help us rubes to not worry about elections being cancelled.  

  8. Anonymous
    September 29th, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

    Another of the problems with high speed rail boondoggles is that it will ruin freight rail.  So that needs to be calculated into the economic equation.

  9. Wilsonia
    September 29th, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

    I’m in Northern Virginia. When I go to Richmond it’s for fun. We see the museums, the botanical garden and eat. None of this requires a high speed train. What a waste.

  10. DaveO
    September 29th, 2011 @ 5:32 pm

    The train would have to go through lands owned by the National Park Service, and guarded by the EPA and the NPS among others.

    The train already goes to Fredrickburg, which makes for an hour’s commute to the Pentagon. What’s another hour?

  11. tomg
    September 29th, 2011 @ 5:40 pm

    “so a Lefty might argue that I’m blogging against my own economic interests”

    When they aren’t accusing conservatives of blogging, or voting, against their own economic interests, the Left accuses us of being greedy.  Heads I win, tails, you lose.

  12. Anonymous
    September 29th, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    NC got funding for “improving” rail service from Charlotte to Raleigh. This involves installing parallel tracks where there are presently a single set so trains don’t have to pull onto sidings to pass each other. It will also convert crossings into overpasses so trains don’t have slow as they approach the crossings. A half a billion dollars to shave 13 minutes off the trip from Charlotte to Raleigh. Trains screaming along at about 110 mph will make the trip in about 3hrs instead of 3hrs 13 to 24 min. If you don’t leave Raleigh during rush hour you can drive to Charlotte in 3hrs.

  13. Baltimore
    September 29th, 2011 @ 5:52 pm

    Hel-LO? I’m right here!

  14. Anonymous
    September 29th, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

    Here in NC this grant was accepted unilaterally by NCDOT and the federal DOT without permission from the Assembly. This is part of the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor project connecting Jacksonville Florida to DC. One major problem with this NC project in particular and I suspect is also a feature of any of the projects in other states is that after the upgrades or new construction is completed, future maintenance will be the responsibility of the states. The funding for this maintenance will come from state highway money. In other words an open-ended unfunded mandate from the feds to the states.


  15. Richard Mcenroe
    September 29th, 2011 @ 7:32 pm
  16. Anonymous
    October 2nd, 2011 @ 2:41 pm


    great word! 🙂