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Obama Pushes Vision for High-Speed Rail


Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

By Michael D. Shear
Declaring that America should "make no little plans," President Obama declared his intention to build a nationwide system of high-speed rail lines in some of the country's most populated corridors.

Speaking at the Old Executive Office Building before a trip to Mexico and Trinidad this morning, Obama said there is no reason why the most modern transportation systems should be built in other countries.

"A major new high-speed rail line will generate many thousands of construction jobs over several years, as well as permanent jobs for rail employees and increased economic activity in the destinations these trains serve," Obama said in prepared remarks. "High-speed rail is long-overdue, and this plan lets American travelers know that they are not doomed to a future of long lines at the airports or jammed cars on the highways."

The declaration of support for rail did not include any new proposals or money. Rather, it was a restatement of the initiative he launched in the past several months.

The stimulus package that Obama pushed through Congress includes $8 billion that the president said will be doled out to the most deserving projects. He has requested another $5 billion in his budget.

Obama said that the money would be used for two things: to improve existing rail lines so that trains on them could go 100 mph or faster; and to identify and construct new rail lines in major corridors.

Among those, according to a fact sheet put out by the White House are the following:

-- California Corridor (Bay Area, Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego)
-- Pacific Northwest Corridor (Eugene, Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Vancouver BC)
-- South Central Corridor (Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Little Rock)
-- Gulf Coast Corridor (Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Birmingham, Atlanta)
-- Chicago Hub Network (Chicago, Milwaukee, Twin Cities, St. Louis, Kansas City, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville)
-- Florida Corridor (Orlando, Tampa, Miami)
-- Southeast Corridor (Washington, Richmond, Raleigh, Charlotte, Atlanta, Macon, Columbia, Savannah, Jacksonville)
-- Keystone Corridor (Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh)
-- Empire Corridor (New York City, Albany, Buffalo)
--Northern New England Corridor (Boston, Montreal, Portland, Springfield, New Haven, Albany)

The fact sheet also suggests that upgrades and improvements are needed in the Northeast Corridor, including "Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, Philadelphia, Newark, New York City, New Haven, Providence, Boston."

In his remarks this morning, Obama confronted critics who say the plans are too expensive, don't go far enough, or will shift resources away from the roads and airports.

He dismissed all those concerns. He said the money is needed now to put people to work and will serve as an investment for later years. He acknowledged that more money will be needed but said the billions committed now are a downpayment to get the program started. And he noted that there are billions more in the stimulus package for road and airport improvement.

By Lexie Verdon  |  April 16, 2009; 10:31 AM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , B_Blog  
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Next: Obama Publishes Op-Ed in Advance of Summit of the Americas

Comments

RE:

"if you found a way to make a circle square"

Just pi in the sky dreaming.

Posted by: hrb266 | April 18, 2009 7:00 PM | Report abuse

LOL! :-D

A High Speed Rail from San Antonio/Austin towards Mobil-Homa and Arkansas!

And People Joked about Alaska's Bridge to No-Where!

Then again, it might be a Socialist plot to Dumb Down Texas by allowing the others in!

Guess for Mobil-Homers, and Clinton types it would be opportunity!

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 17, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

JakeD wrote: 'It is a FACT that he is not legally "President" unless he is a "natural born" citizen.'

It is also a FACT that a square is not a circle unless "every point on its perimeter is equidistant from its center." But most people don't feel compelled to constantly harp on that.

What is it that compels you to continuously point out this obvious but irrelevant fact?

I mean, if you were able to prove something new, if you found a way to make a circle square, that would be one thing. But you can't. You just keep saying "the sky is blue," as though people should worry about it.

Repeatedly.

Over and over.

Again and again.

Obsessively.

Like it's a compulsion you can't control.

Posted by: nodebris | April 17, 2009 12:26 AM | Report abuse

Nuclear power has not proven to be commercially viable. The French are big on it but the French Government subsidizes it.
So unless you want socialistic energy generation then for now we're stuck with what makes money.
Posted by: JRM2 | April 16, 2009 5:11 PM

But are the French buying trillions worth of Oil from nations that are supporting terrorist attacks against them and calling for their collapse?

What costs more, subsidizing nuclear power with millions of dollars or buying hundreds of billions worth of oil from Saudi royals who turn around and support anti-American terrorist groups who attack us directly at home and wage war with us around the world, which costs us thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars in military “subsidies”?

Americas dependence on foreign oil is the costliest “subsidy” we have ever had. Millions for nuclear is nothing compared to the trillions we spend keeping ourselves addicted to oil.

Posted by: Southeasterner | April 16, 2009 8:49 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I am not opposed to the overall concept (just cut the federal budget somewhere to make it affordable).

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

This is exactly why Republican, Tommy Thompson should have been secretary of Transportation under Obama.

Republican leaders have been calling for this for years (the Bush white house is the one that encouraged Schwartzenegger to develop CA's plan) but now that a Democrat is proposing it they are calling it "socialist".

While Democrats have fought high-speed rail bills to preserve highway funding and "union" jobs related to auto manufacturing.

Hypocrits meet the hypocrits.

Posted by: Southeasterner | April 16, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

America is still stuck in the Eisenhower era of building highways. We are stuck supporting the UAW and propping up our failing automobile manufacturers. Eventually we will encounter peak oil and instead of concentrating on finding other ways of running our automobiles why not ask ourselves if there is another way to get around. Think about it, why keep on supporting a machine that slaughters thousands of people every year, butchers the landscape and is essentially a sedentary activity. Try cycling or walking to your destination, its much better and you will feel better. Use transit for long distances. Break free from your cage.

Posted by: brostudios | April 16, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Have any of you guys taken the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority)? Chicago is going to be the high-speed rail hub? Be afraid, very afraid.

High-speed rail will turn into the biggest white elephant project of this century.

Posted by: jonathan3 | April 16, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

oorfenegro:

Since we are discussing a whole new rail system, we can do what is most efficient now, not what will satisfy political special interests. A route closer to the first Intercontinental Railroad makes more sense to me.

BTW: Disney's California Adventure (as a new construction project) pays plenty in taxes -- they basically fund the entire City of Anaheim with over $35 million per year -- perhaps you were thinking Disneyland, below, which has had only nominal increases due to Prop. 13? One recent study I saw said that Disneyland would pay only $4 million more without Proposition 13.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

SAINT...Chicago has always been the nation's train hub and why should that change with the new rail system. Folks are complaining about the possible cost of upgrading the nation's rail network...Where would the nation be if the people questioned how Obama's government intrastructure projects will be funded were around 70 years ago when government funded projects like the interstate highway system, the Empire State Building, Hoover Dam, the TVA, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges were on the drawing board during the height of the depression? These folks would have killed off those projects using the same fiscal arugements being made today by the Chicken Littles of the 21st century.

Posted by: oorfenegro | April 16, 2009 7:12 PM | Report abuse

Careful, SAINT---The, someone will accuse you of being "racist" for pointing that out.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

LOL! :-(

Anyone else notice all the High Speed Rails going towards "Chicago"?

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 16, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

High-speed rail is an extraordinarily expensive, wasteful, pork-laden boondoggle that has never come close to "reducing CO2 emissions and energy use", "reducing congestion", or saving money.

It's an excellent way to squander hundreds of billions of dollars, and then bill the taxpayers for it.

By the time the real costs become fully known, Obama will be long gone. But since 99% of Americans don't understand what "hidden costs" are, it sure will make Obama seem popular in the short run.

Obama the Economist: F-
Obama the Politician: A+ !

Here's some beginning reading:

http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/category/rail-and-mass-transit

http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=926

http://ti.org/DeceptionsWeb.pdf

Posted by: taxpayer_money_not_govt_money | April 16, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I rode high speed rail in Germany. It's a great asset for a country and its people.

Posted by: rooster54 | April 16, 2009 5:38 PM | Report abuse

bryangirkins:

I'm all for researching it and any other projects that might help restructure our economy to a less wasteful and more secure state, so I'm with you there.

I'm just saying I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for it to actually happen if only because of the fiscal situation. It seems to me that Washington is living in a dream world: we can't afford what we have now, let alone starting up huge new programs. It would be like starting up yet another war.

I'm not even stating an opinion or trying to debate: the money simply isn't there. Right now, the government is desperately doing everything they can to keep the house of cards from collapsing, but it's only a matter of time. We as a nation have been consuming far more than we produce and living on credit, public and private, for decades now and it is becoming unsustainable.

It probably already is.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | April 16, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

probably can be done at the cost of one moon-shot.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | April 16, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"How about a couple thousand nuclear power plants and then we switch over to all-electric cars?"
-----
Nuclear power has not proven to be commercially viable. The French are big on it but the French Government subsidizes it.

So unless you want socialistic energy generation then for now we're stuck with what makes money.

Posted by: JRM2 | April 16, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

What?, no line from Disneyland directly to the entrance of "The Bunny Ranch" in Nevada??????

Posted by: JRM2 | April 16, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't talking about who is in charge of launching said weapons.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't "hate" anyone BTW. You were complaining about the high DoD "maintenance and security costs" for our nuclear stockpile. I simply point out that DoE takes care of most of that.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Jake D - ok i see what you are talking about now. and yes, that is true. they do help out. but as far who is in charge of the nuclear weapons it is the Global Strike Command. however, i would bet that all nuclear power plants and any nuclear produced power is handled by the DOE, which would make sense.

as for the protesters, you may want to do some searching, because out of the people there who were surveyed, they were in the top bracket, were white, and were male (and watched Fox News). but i cant sit here and say all of them were at the $250K+ income range, or even say an exact %, but it certainly was the majority. they are the only ones who received tax increases. all other brackets received a tax break.

anyway, it was good talking/debating. i love this kind of a thing because as they say, "Democracy only works if people participate". republicans and democrats need to get over themselves and realize that hating on one another is pointless. give it a rest already.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

bryangirkins:

I think DoE programs cover USAF nukes as well.

http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/defense_programs/documents/Stockpile_Overview_November_13_2006.pdf

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Either JakeD can't name the three largest cities in the U.S., or his question about Chicago was pure bad faith.

I'm betting on the second option, since it's in line with his (lack of) character.

Posted by: nodebris | April 16, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"A major new high-speed rail line will generate many thousands of construction jobs over several years...."

Obama's rail plan also bridges nicely to consideration of another major problem prioritized by the President, that of managing better our energy needs, thereby lessening dependence upon foreign fossil fuels and cutting effluents that contribute to global climate change.

Posted by: FirstMouse1 | April 16, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

bryangirkins:

Maybe it's just the U.S. Navy's nukes I was thinking about. I thought that DOE assisted with our main bomber / land-based nukes as well.

"The Department of Energy, through the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), works to enhance national security through the military application of nuclear energy. The NNSA also maintains and enhances the safety, reliability, and performance of the United States nuclear weapons stockpile, including the ability to design, produce, and test, in order to meet national security requirements."

http://www.energy.gov/nationalsecurity/nuclearsecurity.htm

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

to = too (darn Spellchecker ; )

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Is it that our America has turned into a nation of no vision and no guts? This is exactly what our country needs otherwise we will go the way of all nations that didn't prepare for the future (actually its the present and we're behind).

Posted by: 45summer | April 16, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

I would doubt that even 0.01% of the protesters yesterday made more than $250,000 per year. It was about EVERYONE paying too much taxes as well as the government spending to much.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"We start[ed] pulling the threads out of the regulatory fabric and what's the first thing we get: we get S+L crisis," Warren said. 'Seven hundred financial institutions fail. Ten years later what do we get? Long Term Capital Management, where we learn that when something collapses in one place in the world it collapses everywhere else. Early 2000s, we get Enron, which tells us the books are dirty. And what is our repeated response? We just keep pulling the threads out of the regulatory fabric.


So we have two choices -- we are going to make a big decision, probably over about the next six months. And the big decision we are going to make is going to go one way or another. We are going decide, basically, 'Hey, we don't need regulation. You know, it is fine. Boom and bust, boom and bust, boom and bust, and good luck with your 401k.' Or alternatively we are going to say, you know, 'We are going to out with some smart regulation that is going to adapt to the fact that we have new products and what we are going to have going forward is we are going to have some stability and real prosperity for ordinary folks.'" - Elizabeth Warren

JakeD - nuclear arsenals are maintained by the United States Air Force. In fact, the Global Strike Command is being stood up at Barksdale AFB, LA to be the HQ for the nuclear mission. This was a result of the mis-handling of nuclear weapons by the USAF in past years (nuclear mission was under the AF Space Command). not sure why you refer to him (Obama) as my boy...i just said I like the high speed train idea. and you completely misunderstood my point on Russia and China. in fact, you helped it in a way. i was arguing that spending on programs to protect us from threats that only China and Russia currently pose (but is extremely improbable to act on) is dumb. and as you stated, Obama is trying to assure the world that our three countries won't destroy everyone with our nukes. which means if we agree to cut back even more, than the amount of spending for those programs is even more ridiculous.

i want to see spending on other programs. that is my point. and i think the US is more than capable of surviving with a 10% defense budget cut to pay for infrastructure.

ANDREW - it's not even that i think we need to start building this now. as i said, this may need to be put on hold for a few years. but i support the idea of researching what would need to happen for this to be implemented. that doesn't mean i support them "financing" every last project they can think of, but i think it certainly should come up in budget talks and which programs should get money. Missile Defense Systems (which, by the way, are already top notch) or infrastructure programs/systems?

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"regarding the "tax protest" it seemed that folks who turned out were mostly people who didn't vote for Obama and want to blame him for the financial mess Bush created and Obama's trying to clean up"

exactly. they are also the same people who make up the richest % of people in the US. granted, they have every right to say they don't agree that the highest income earners in the US should be the highest tax bracket and the only one with a tax increase (in other words, they don't want to pay for a large chunk of these bailouts, etc.), but that will quickly alienate them. mostly because the richest of these people (making $250K+ per year) are the ones responsible. in other words, the multi-millionaires on Wall Street have no right to complain. the guy making an honest, hard earned, $250,000 salary as a Lead Systems Engineer should be the only one complaining. he is in a tax bracket that is being taxed heavily because his multi-millionaire tax-bracket counterparts are sending everything into chaos with their unethical business practices. which of course happened as we slowly pulled regulatory "threads" out that were put in place after the Great Depression. Those "threads" held for 50 years and then we saw the S+L crisis. then we managed to get out of that just to see more "threads" start to unravel. and before we knew it, we got to where we are now.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

oorfenegro:

Disney's California Adventure (as a new construction project) pays plenty in taxes. Perhaps you are thinking Disneyland, which has had only nominal increases due to Prop. 13? One recent study I saw said that Disneyland would pay only $4 million more without Proposition 13.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

bryangirkins:

I agree with you that a rail system such as this is long over-due and a great idea from several angles that should appeal to people of all political stripes: for myself, the security benefits of rendering our infrastructure less vulnerable to fluctuations in oil supply are paramount; for others, it might be the environmental, public works or general economic benefits.

I also I agree that "it's too early" in the sense that we should have undertaken such a project decades ago. All that not-with-standing, however, I still fail to see how we are possibly going to pay for this no matter how admirable a project it might be: we're already near 20 trillion in debt and the credit is running out.

I hope you're right and I'm wrong and, if they start this project, they will be able to finish it and that it will provide all the benefits for which we could hope. I am afraid, however, that if we keep ignoring our crippling public debt that in a few years the US will look like Eastern Europe after the fall of the USSR: a pile of rusting hulk of massive projects, half-completed and bereft of funding.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | April 16, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

bryangirkins:

Last I checked, DOE was eating that cost. Did that change? And what with yith your boy in charge, I doubt that Russia or China are scared about mutually assured destruction anymore.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see a High Speed Rail built!

One that runs at various times, at over 300 MPH!

With no warning lights, and no Horns or Whistles!

From Brownsville, Tx., across the Border to San Diego, Ca.! ;~)

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 16, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Hey Washington Post, how about a headline that reads: “High speed trains may derail the economy” instead of the liberal “Vision” rhetoric?

Posted by: XLiberalJack | April 16, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

In response to Bubbette1 it's not the unions that driving California to the poorhouse, it's Prop 13's freeze on corporate property tax. Disney's California resort is worth millions of dollars, but Disney pays almost no property tax because the California resort was a parking lot when Prop 13 locked in the tax at what the property was valued at in 1979. Same with expensive silicon valley property that were weed fields in 1979. If California could receive just 10 percent of current value of corporate property owned since 1979, California would have a surplus. California is in the sad shape it's in because of laws requiring any amendment to Prop 13 be passed by a 2/3 vote. A clear example of the minority oppressing the majority...regarding the "tax protest" it seemed that folks who turned out were mostly people who didn't vote for Obama and want to blame him for the financial mess Bush created and Obama's trying to clean up

Posted by: oorfenegro | April 16, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like a great plan to me. Several newspapers have done point to point travel, with two reporters leaving the newsroom at the same time for a downtown destination less than 300 miles,one taking Amtrak and the other flying about the distance between San Francisco and LA or Chicago-St. Louis. Most of the time the Amtrak reporter beat the plane reporter, given the time it takes to get to and from the airport, clear security and dealing with any weather or air traffic delays. High speed rail would further reduce a 300 mile downtown to downtown trip to 2.5 hours, while the actual time involved in taking a 300 mile flight will remain at 5-6 hours

Posted by: oorfenegro | April 16, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

yes, we have spent quite a bit. and that is great! but i want to either see more to fix the problems that still are there, or to take the money out of the programs i spoke about earlier and put them into something like this. as for Russia and China, i mean, it's obvious that they are capable of striking us with WMDs. we all know that. but i just don't see that happening because if it did, i'm pretty sure the entire world would fall apart in a massive nuclear, global war.

and i didnt forget about North Korea or Iran. i was getting at countries who are currently capable. and i'm not saying we should be ill-prepared, but the truth is we are plenty prepared as it is right now. it is estimated that having around 5,000 nuclear war heads is sufficient to protect the US. you want to know how many we have? roughly 10,600 (7,982 deployed, 2,700 hedge/contingency stockpile). just the maintenance and security costs of that stockpile alone is a massive hole in the budget.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

In response to Bubbette1, it's federal law that contractors doing federal projects over $2,000 in value must pay their employees "Prevailing wages" -- which typically means union wages. Like it or not, it's been law since the Great Depression.
****
Sorry do not agree. Obama and Meathead, I mean Biden, specifically made it a part of the package to force union wages to protect unions. I know that is shocking that a politician would sell out the public to protect the interests of the union, but tis so and has been since the Great Depression.

We need to pass laws banning all government unions. Start in California where they are bankrupting the State. 100% salary on retirement passed by Gray Davis. The City of Vallejo was fortunate enough to declare bankruptcy and the bankruptcy judge ordered that the government union contracts could be broken. The State of California is next to go to bankruptcy and like GM and other entities saddled with unsustainable union costs will have to shed the unions. Unfortunately the legislature in California is firmly on the payroll of these unions and continue to cut them sweetheart deals at the public's expense.

Maybe an initiative to ban government unions in California? Someone has to say enough as our elected officials cannot. There were enough angry tax payers out yesterday it may be viable.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 16, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

We've spent quite a bit on airport and seaport safety. I'm not as confident as you are about Russia and/or China. You are also forgetting that North Korea is trying to gain ballistic missile capabilities too.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

High-speed rail is an extraordinarily expensive, wasteful, pork-laden boondoggle that has never come close to "reducing CO2 emissions and energy use", "reducing congestion", or saving money.

It's an excellent way to squander hundreds of billions of dollars, and then bill the taxpayers for it.

By the time the real costs become fully known, Obama will be long gone. But since 99% of Americans don't understand what "hidden costs" are, it sure will make Obama seem popular in the short run.

Obama the Economist: F-
Obama the Politician: A+ !

Here's some beginning reading:

http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/category/rail-and-mass-transit

http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=926

http://ti.org/DeceptionsWeb.pdf

Posted by: taxpayer_money_not_govt_money | April 16, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - what i am complaining about is the fact the defense spending was mostly spent on programs that had NOTHING to do with Iraq and Afghanistan. If the majority of that spending was in communications programs or ISR capabilities, i wouldn't be complaining. but the VAST majority of the spending was on programs aimed at preventing attacks that ONLY China and Russia are capable of. Meaning ballistic missiles, etc. Out of the countries capable of these kinds of attacks, only two pose any real threat (currently)...Russia and China. And neither had anything to do with 9-11 which was used to justify the massive increased spending.

i don't have a problem with the spending fundamentally, i disagree with spending that is not actually benefiting us. i want to see more spending on programs that will help take out the terrorist strong holds in the middle east which would in turn prevent things like 9-11. this means i would like to see more spending on domestic programs aimed at keeping airports safe as well.

i don't need to see us spending the vast majority of our defense budget on systems/programs that we won't even use unless Cold War II comes around. that is my complaint. so when i see people complaining about money for this when it helps our infrastructure, i am puzzled.

having said that, i will agree that this may not be the best timing for this. ANDREW said, "Unfortunately, I think it is also too late," and I disagree. I say it is too early if anything.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Why so angry, marSF? Did you finally get tired of making fun of those who cling to their guns or religion yesterday? You do realize there were at least 200,000 protestors, right?

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Nope (and I had scrambled eggs for breakfast).

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"I am sticking to the facts at issue. Michael D. Shear, not me, brought up "President" Obama. It is a FACT that he is not legally "President" unless he is a "natural born" citizen. ?"

You lost the election now go cry into your oatmeal and STFU already.

Posted by: marSF | April 16, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, andrew23boyle.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

At least we can all agree that it would have been more "environmentally sensitive" (and cheaper in this economic CRISIS) for Obama to have simply published an op ed and NOT flown Air Force One, etc. all over the globe, right?

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I like the idea of mass transit and I think the building of such a railway system could pay great dividends in helping remove us from our dependence on foreign oil, will also help the environment some and its consideration is long overdue.

Unfortunately, I think it is also too late. Where they plan on finding the money to pay for it is beyond me. Maybe they'll just print more.

We're broke. We're broke. We're broke.

Far beyond broke.

Oh well, there's far worse things on which to waste money that we can't afford and which doesn't really exist in any case than on mass transit. Still, I tremble to contemplate the day that people wake up and realize that their wallets are filled with hollow promises.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | April 16, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

bryangirkins:

No, I am not joking. I know exactly what's been spent on defense. You complain about the INCREASED defense spending (which, since I am including all "off-budget" amounts for the wars, was mostly due to terrorism) when there is no chance that even a fraction of that money could have been politically available for our nation's infrastructure had there been no such attack. If you don't want to answer my question, I'm sure you will forgive me declining to answer yours.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

YARD - yes, but that is because they were using existing (when i say "they", i mean the one high speed train we do have, which is the Amtrack one) rails that were not renovated (entirely) so they could reach the high speeds. the rails had too many turns that prevent the train from going over an average of 80 mph.

here is a great read (it is objective!) on HIGH speed rail transit...in other words, there is nothing about light rail (aka, metro) in here like other links below...

http://www.wired.com/cars/futuretransport/magazine/15-07/st_essay

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

High-speed rail is an extraordinarily expensive, wasteful, pork-laden boondoggle that has never come close to "reducing CO2 emissions and energy use", "reducing congestion", or saving money.

It's an excellent way to squander hundreds of billions of dollars, and then bill the taxpayers for it.

By the time the real costs become fully known, Obama will be long gone. But since 99% of Americans don't understand what "hidden costs" are, it sure will make Obama seem popular in the short run.

Obama the Economist: F-
Obama the Politician: A+ !

Here's some beginning reading:

http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/category/rail-and-mass-transit

http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=926

http://ti.org/DeceptionsWeb.pdf

Posted by: taxpayer_money_not_govt_money | April 16, 2009 2:22 PM | Report abuse

BeyondGreen:

How about a couple thousand nuclear power plants and then we switch over to all-electric cars?

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

JakeD - you're joking, right? if you knew anything about the defense budget, you would know that the vast majority of our budget is spent on weapons of mass destruction and preventing WMDs from hitting us (meaning, China & Russia). tell me, did Russia or China have ANYTHING to do with 9-11? No. Were the terrorists who carried out 9-11 in the foreign military? No. Did those terrorists use their own military weapons or any WMDs? No. Yet here we are increasing our WMD spending and missile defense systems for something that really isn't a threat. Preventing what happened on 9-11 does not require the defense spending increase that we saw. And if you think so, then you should take a look at where the money went in the defense budget for the past 8 years. It's public information.

It's good that Gates realized that at this time, some of the defense spending we had was not necessary at this time. what we needed to do (and Gates did do) was increase spending in ISR capabilities (UAVs specifically). This is what is helping us in Iraq and Afghanistan...not missile defense systems. Look at the % of ISR spending compared to missile defense and you'll see how wasteful it was.

There needs to be more funding in communications links as well. War fighters need to be receiving and sending information quickly and efficiently as possible. That means investing in new communications technology (yet TSAT was cut from the 2010 defense budget), increase spending in space programs, and increased spending in protecting our satellites.

So don't sit here and say where I was on 9-11. I was here wondering why the US government was setting record defense spending budgets yet couldn't remember to look after commercial airliners and airports subject to that kind of a threat.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

For the record, I can certainly "figure out" why there would be a Chicago hub (same reason Blagojevich is going to join his predecessor in the slammer).

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. It costs the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota.We have so much available to us such as wind and solar. Let's spend some of those bail out billions and get busy harnessing this energy. Create cheap clean energy, badly needed new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What a win-win situation that would be for our nation at large! There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. http://www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com

Posted by: BeyondGreen | April 16, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

oh and BTW in the US high-speed rail means 79 mph (every dept of trans public hearing I've attended made that clear) but in the rest of the world, high speed rail means 180-250 mph... so the "100 mph or faster" is really hedging. These are nice generalities, not facts. We need facts and figures. Oh wait let's not confuse ourselves.

Posted by: yard80197 | April 16, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

BCH78:

I am sticking to the facts at issue. Michael D. Shear, not me, brought up "President" Obama. It is a FACT that he is not legally "President" unless he is a "natural born" citizen. If you don't know that, may I suggest you review the United States Constitution?

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

In response to Bubbette1, it's federal law that contractors doing federal projects over $2,000 in value must pay their employees "Prevailing wages" -- which typically means union wages. Like it or not, it's been law since the Great Depression.

Posted by: egoldin | April 16, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I think JakeD is actually the foreigner, if he can't figure out why there would be a Chicago hub.

Posted by: nodebris | April 16, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

bryangirkins:

Where were you on 9/11/01?

NotBubba:

Just looking at the map, a more logical "hub" would be in Kansas or Missouri.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

After living in Europe for 4 years and plan to return this summer for another 3 I was excited at the prospect of having the Euro rail system at my disposal for transportation. The notion that the USA is going to start a high-speed rail network is really exciting.
To those who make the comments whining about everything from "maybe not natural born" to "if it was profitable the railroads would have done it long ago" try to stick to the facts of the issue.
In Europe and Japan, the government subsidizes these systems. They do it because it is a huge benefit to have this kind of transportation system available for the public. In Berlin, a city with a population approximately that same as the Washington Metro area, they rarely have the I-395 and I-270 daily parking lots. The people use rail for everything, not just going into the city to work every day. Travel between cities and towns is easy and relaxing and affordable..

Think about how vulnerable our transportation systems (air and road) have been with the threat of terrorism in the air and high gas prices for the road. Rail is an additional component to a multi-facet system and for those who argue about speed, not only will high-speed rail compete with air transport, the location of terminals in the city centers makes it even more convenient for arrival and departure to get to your destinations easily.

This is a long-term project, one long overdue ad it will dovetail nicely with our alternative energy efforts to make the USA and North America some day a much better place to live! Go high-speed rail!

Posted by: BCH78 | April 16, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Public transportation is just not the American Thing. Also, the Mil-Ind Complex will oppose this tooth and nail because there's nothing in it for them. de facto, we have to go to the Europeans to build it for us, so not only will Boeing-northrup-Haliburton/et al get a poke in the eye but the jobs will go to Europeans. That would be opposed by Mil-Ind as well as Joe/Rosy the rivettor.

Posted by: yard80197 | April 16, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

"Drop your SUVs and hop on a train, and stop whining about gas prices. To pay for it 100% we can cut "defense" spending by 2%. That was easy."

HAHA exactly! but then our nation would be at risk to more terrorist attacks! DUH! i mean, how did the US ever survive before the insane (and record setting) defense budget spending by the Bush administration? maybe he should have used that money (being the surplus left by Clinton) to actually use on our nation's infrastructure rather than bombs that will destroy other nation's infrastructure.

no one calls foul when spending is increased for defense (just look at all the bickering going on with the defense budget cuts for 2010!) yet people are trying to jump all over the administration because they want to improve our infrastructure?!?! i don't under stand that at all.

this shouldn't even be a republican/democrat thing...mass transit at a cheap cost and with minimal environmental impact seems pretty good for anyone....

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

High-speed rail is an extraordinarily expensive, wasteful, pork-laden boondoggle that has never come close to "reducing CO2 emissions and energy use", "reducing congestion", or saving money.

It's an excellent way to squander hundreds of billions of dollars, and then bill the taxpayers for it.

By the time the real costs become fully known, Obama will be long gone. But since 99% of Americans don't understand what "hidden costs" are, it sure will make Obama seem popular in the short run.

Obama the Economist: F-
Obama the Politician: A+ !

Here's some beginning reading:

http://www.coyoteblog.com/coyote_blog/category/rail-and-mass-transit

http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=926

http://ti.org/DeceptionsWeb.pdf

Posted by: taxpayer_money_not_govt_money | April 16, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Jake D, Chicago is and has been the hub of the U.S. rail system from the 19th century. Billsnice, baloney and it's "Amtrak". Count all the subsidies for road and air travel and rail gets peanuts. Rail passenger service is there to provide a "service" not make money. For profit services have had mixed success. Those who marvel at France, Germany and Japan and their outstanding trains had better realize that a sizable portion of their gas taxes pays for the service as it should.

Posted by: NotBubba | April 16, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's just a "coincidence" that there's just a huge Chicago Hub Network too?

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

OTOH Harry Reid's "Disneyland to Sin City" high-speed train dream we have to worry about.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I kinda like Obama's statement about "America should make no small plans".

When JFK declared "we will put a man on the moon by the end of decade", it probably seemed like "too much effort, given the huge cost of killing Viet Nam."

Now we have the nation "killing Islam", so surely we cannot build any infrastructure, you know, trains, roads, bridges, etc.

Posted by: rmorris391 | April 16, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

marSF:

I'm just saying don't put the caboose in front of the engine. If Obama is not even legally PRESIDENT, then it doesn't matter what "vision" he is pushing.

why177:

Are you "praising" the BART system?!

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

"I should point about that "President" Obama may not even be a "natural born" citizen."


This is just getting sad. Really pathetic.

Posted by: marSF | April 16, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Why not coast to coast high speed?

Or even Dallas to Houston?

Posted by: GaryEMasters | April 16, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

When the president was speaking about this this morning I thought how this country has become the couch potato country.
In the early 60s when Kennedy called for a man to the moon, America was all can do and innovative and no boundaries.
Now we cannot even do highspeed rail while the rest of the world passes us by.
Everyone looks for excuses: It's too hard, costs too much, won't work, ect., ect.,
It's far easier to think of why we can't and then sit back on our country's couch and down another beer rather then look for how ans why. It's far easier to think we cannot and it's too hard while we fall further behind and the rest of the world passes us by.
We should be ashamed of the sloppy and lazy collective thinking we all have allowed ourselves to be rather then the energetic and can do spirit of 50 years ago.

Posted by: vwcat | April 16, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Also to everyone talking about how it can't pay for itself. The value of the infrastructure is not simply in the ability to recoup the loses with fares. Freight will move faster and more efficiently, people will move faster and more efficiently and will be more productive during transportation. The whole country starts to run more efficiently, which means that per person we are more productive, which means we can compete with countries that have way more people, like China.

Posted by: SantacruzRC | April 16, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

isn't it ironic that the original transcontinental railroad helped open up our country, connecting the east coast with the west coast. now days, we act like the east coast and the west coast are two different cultures. The east coast represents financial interests and political drama; the west coast represents entertainment and innovation.

We built a little commuter train out in the Tacoma-Seattle-Everett "region"; the passenger train even goes on down to Portland. It seems to be working out OK. There are construction projects to run tracks out to the Sea-Tac airport, and over to the Eastside (Bellevue-Kirkland-Redmond). The traffic is so bad around here, that Microsoft runs its own commuter bus service for its employees. Surely the new Eastside tracks will improve the movement of people.

For me the bus works. I don't need my car while sitting in front of a flat-screen, typing these missives.

There seems to be a lot of concern about the "socialism" of using mass transit. Somehow, people think driving a car is more "freedom", but they ignore the "socialism" of working for a corporation. Sitting at a desk, chained to a flat-screen, is not very "free" is it?

I guess if I drove my car to my office, I would have the "freedom" to choose my route, but so what? I always end up at the same building, regardless if I drive my car or ride the bus. As they say on the radio, "the wheels on the bus go round n round".

It is fairly easy to see the cost-benefit analysis of mass transit. If 1,000 people drive their cars to work, and each uses 1 gallon of gas for the round-trip, collectively we use 1,000 gallons every day. But a train (or a bus) might use, say 100 gallons of fuel to move the same 1,000 people each day.

This kind of "socialism" requires people to look at the "total cost" of moving people from home to work, and back again every day. When you just look at your individual cost of driving your car, don't forget to include more than the cost of gasoline (tires, lease, etc), and what about the cost to society (the collective cost for all drivers)?

Posted by: rmorris391 | April 16, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

dbmries wrote: "Has anyone seen the size of say Japan or Spain relative to the USA"

You aren't getting it. No one is talking about high-speed rail covering the entire nation. No one. That's a straw man. Look at the actual plan. It has maps.

It might help you to think of the U.S. as a conglomeration of small countries that are each the size of Japan or Spain. The Boston-Washington corridor is a classic example. This area has a huge population contained within a relatively small space. It also has hugely congested roads and airports. You don't think high-speed rail would help there? Really?

Infrastructure projects like this are exactly what the federal government is supposed to do (interstate commerce, anyone?). Since our foundation, federal investment in canals, rail, and roads have generated huge economic benefits for us. This isn't a liberal scheme. George Washington (that big advocate of canals), Lincoln (huge advocate of rail) and Eisenhower (builder of the interstate highway system) would all be cheering this on.

Posted by: nodebris | April 16, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Seems like we should be able to do better than just 150mph the current speed record is 360 mph. Granted that's just a trial run, but the technology is around. I also hope to see electric/flywheel hybrids, with regenerative braking. With regenerative braking and maglev technology a train would only have air resistance, virtually no energy for acceleration, no rolling resistance, no suspension losses. And the air resistance isn't all that high either particularly if designed with a turbulent boundary layer.

Posted by: SantacruzRC | April 16, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Antone who has travelled outside of the United States knows the feeling when they see the train systems in Europe, Japan and China. Gleaming modern hi-tech trains. How can this be possible?? Americans are told these countries are backwards, are socialist, nothing works, only America, with big cars and highways, knows how to do Transportation.

It's about time someone leads America into the 21st century. Cost? Pennies compared to what Republicans have spent on unnecessary wars and for corporate welfare.

The Oil companies and the Car companies have blocked investment in Rail for too long. It's about time.

Posted by: thebobbob | April 16, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The US had a great rail system, and it was ruined by pay for play politicians like Barrack Obama. Watch what Obama does-- not what he says. With his pay for play pals with their palms up during the election, they greeted the UAW and Big Three three days after the election. Obama showered these companies and unions with billions to produce their overpriced gas guzzling cars that no one would buy otherwise. Forget what Obama said-- he paid them the money for their votes just like he and Geithner (according to their fellow party leader Dodd) did for AIG executives, etc.
Obama and Congress are now waving the magic wand to get the press and public dreaming of a train system like we once had in America and what other countries have advanced since. No one is going to loan us more and more money for Obama's payoffs to the donors for his campaigns and coronation, and they sure won't loan us the money for his donors' corrupt and graft laden health, auto and infrastructure scams.
Obama looks way too much lately like the blind em and rob em politicians from Chicago.

Posted by: Donschott | April 16, 2009 12:49 PM | Report abuse

so quick to judge, the BART in SF is a wonderful example of what hopefully this will become!

Posted by: why177 | April 16, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

This is a joke! The WP poke fun at the people trying to stop the out of control spending in DC. When will somebody tell the emperor that he has no clothes? Obama and his supporters just don't get it ... what part of "we don't have the money!!!!" does he not get? Hey WP, why are you not questioning the administration's compulsive spending syndrome? Afraid of being labeled a racist?

Posted by: beaufortbilly | April 16, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse


Love it!

It's about time we join the civilized world re: transportation and mass transit infrastructure.

Drop your SUVs and hop on a train, and stop whining about gas prices. To pay for it 100% we can cut "defense" spending by 2%. That was easy.

Posted by: sequoiaqueneaux | April 16, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I should point about that "President" Obama may not even be a "natural born" citizen.

Posted by: JakeD | April 16, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like Mr. Reaching Across the Isle is planning to waste more money on another bad idea. I would expect zero republican votes for this one also.

Posted by: XLiberalJack | April 16, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Talk about an idiot that can't see the forest for the trees. Hear we are in a disastrous crisis and this guy is thinking about fast trains. He must have people that sit around dreaming up this crap to spend money.
We need to get back to the base of our problems, make it worth while for "COMPANIES" NOT THE *** GOVERNMENT to get motivated to do business. We need to get everyone contributing to solve the problems and get rid of those that are causing the problems.
Come 2010 we need to replace every person in the Congress and if Hussein hasn't contributed anymore than I think that he will, he needs to go in 2012. And for God-sake we don't need CLINTON !!!!
WAKE UP AMERICA !!!!!

Posted by: jrvaughan | April 16, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

LOL.

Has anyone seen the size of say Japan or Spain relative to the USA? China ia big and their "high speed trains" were started in 2003 and not completed. There are a few sections between major cities done.

It's not been done before BECAUSE IT CAN'T PAY FOR ITSELF. IT'S A LOSER. TOO EXPENSIVE.

If it was a money maker, the private railroads would have done it.

So we all will be paying for this the REST OF OUR LIVES.

Stupid plan - only our idiots in Congress and President could come up with this loss of money lame ideolgical plan. This clearly shows Obama lack of business knowledge and common sense.

Posted by: debmries | April 16, 2009 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Why is the title on the electronic front page state "Obama: Better Trains Foster Energy Independence" when the body of the article makes zero mention of it?

Trains make make us more efficient but shutting down oil and gas leases and mining permits and closing Yucca Mountain is much more of a road to energy dependence than independence.

Posted by: edbyronadams | April 16, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

High-speed rail is a no-brainer.

Trains are by far the most fuel efficient means of transportation.

We're not going to cover the entire country, just the congested major transportation corridors.

Think about traveling to a major city for business and winding up downtown, instead of at an airport in some god-forsaken distant suburb with yet another hour of travel on congested roads to get to your actual destination.

Think about relieving the crippling congestion at major airports and on urban highways.

There is a reason that every other major economy has high-speed rail. The efficiency gains are huge and proven.

This is one of those situations where people need to remember the difference between a capital investment and other sorts of spending.

Posted by: nodebris | April 16, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

FBO.com and Recovery.org in and of themselves are great tools. if you had a GSA schedule you would be able to access that information as it pertains to GSA schedules. there are plenty of sites but you have to be willing to take the time to find it. is that really transparency? maybe a bit but they certainly don't make it easy to get this information.

as for the train issue, i'm not saying you aren't raising good points. what im happy about is the fact that at least we have someone talking about getting this system set up here. it obviously isn't going to happen overnight or is even planned to happen overnight. but getting some money into researching and surveying the costs, time, materials, man power, etc. that are associated with a project like this are great. Maybe it is fair to say that giving a few billion to this right now isn't the best timing, but the fact is it does need to happen sooner rather than later. as for how they plan to get the rails up to par, right now it is slated that a large portion of the money will go to renovating the rails we do have now so they can handle speeds of at least 90 mph (the minimum requirement for a high speed train). other funds would be going to the construction of new rails, which obviously is going to be time consuming (not only from a construction point, but from an acquisition of land standpoint). i'm sure the vast majority of those projects would require American steel as well.

my point is that it is positive to see that at least some of the money being spent is on things we need. we can sit here and argue over the bailouts all day long...but the fact is, if we let the banks fail, companies all over the US and the world will fail. everything is interdependent that a "thread" out here, will take out "threads" in many other places elsewhere. but again, lets not even get into bailout.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

To bryangirkins, I agree with your last post.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 16, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Ok where is the transparency? Tell me where to go to see a list of the projects. The actual bid numbers and schedule so that we can see that in 90 days they are already ahead of schedule and under budget. I will wait, go ahead and post so we can all reveal in the glory that is Obama and his complete transparency.

One other issue. A simple point. When will they begin the eminent domain actions to take the land that will be needed for the new rail systems?

Or are they going to take over the train companies and run them like GM?

So do they take the existing rail tracks and shut them down? Or does Obuma just raise his arms and like Moses parts the Country and rails appear?

Finally, at one point in our Country we were the largest manufacturer in the World. We had goods to ship and export. Care to comment on where we currently stand in this regard and the studies about how much it will cost to ship a ton of goods after the final price tag is added up? Surely these studies have all been done before Obuma opened his mouth to spill forth this drivel. Facts can be a harsh mistress.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 16, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

"It's great being in the middle and seeing how stupid some of the crap that comes out of each side really is."

what part of that says I am either side? where did I say YOU were either? i'm talking to you about what you said rather than talking to you because you said something that goes against Obama's thinking. come on man.

i am not attacking you at all. this is an awful medium for determining the tone in which someone is "speaking" to you in. i can't really stand either party if im being honest. i dont like the fact that we have a two party system. who says these two parties have it right?! im pretty sure there are more than two opinions that are valid.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

you need to stop comparing straight numbers and compare ratios. Yes, we are a much larger country....and guess what, we have a much larger population. as long as the population to size of country ratio is similar, you can use another model to base your system off of.

as for thousands of projects underway, i work in the government contracting industry and there are MANY projects that were passed through the bid process pretty quickly to get things rolling. i would agree that it may not be the largest projects, but by no means does that mean they are not important.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

bryangirkins: As an Obamabot you like to attack anyone who differs with Obuma's point of view by trying to say I must be a Republican. Sorry, long time Independent. Did not vote for Bush, did not vote for Obuma. Obuma is incompetent. He has no experience for this job and is less than an empty suit. Look to the owners of the Federal Reserve banks to see who he really reports to and is taking care of.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 16, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

oh yeah, and the trains in france are generally powered by electricity....which comes from their nuclear plants...which means it isn't foreign oil. even Fox News isn't twisting the truth around the need for this system:

http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2009Apr16/0,4670,ObamaRail,00.html

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

No doubt a high speed rail system is needed. But the systems you are talking about are in countries much smaller than the US. To build a similar system in Japan the size of one of our States compared to our Country is staggering.

Travel and shipping by rail is much less expensive and by far more economical to ship by ton. But this assumes the country can afford to build it. At this time with the debt and all of the other ill conceived manic delusional thoughts that just seem to spring into Obama's head there is no thought to how to fund this or to implement. It does make for a great sound bite and a distraction from the train wreck the country is in. I worked on a conceptual program for a bullet train in California to run from San Diego to LA in 1980. Never got built just like these won't.

By the way Obama is claiming thousands of projects are now underway in less than 100 days on time and under budget. How much happy HS does he think he can blow up our collective colons? The time to prepare a set of plans, get bids and building permits, pass State and Federal environmental regulations all done in a matter of days. Right.

Why would Obama mandate that Union wages be paid on these projects? That will add a minimum of 20% on top of the cost of the program. Could it be that unless he sold out to the unions they could not compete on an open bidding process? So 20% less work, 20% less people employed.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 16, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

kamots - really dude? have you seen the MPG of a train compared to a car or plane? if you hadn't, you should. because all those people that would be driving or flying could opp for the train...which is by far the most green means of transportation. And if you have a system that is solid (similar to Japan and Europe), the majority of people will use it for regional transportation (regional being Northeast, etc.).

The point is, you are assuming that the train won't cut back on the number of people who take cars/planes when is PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that is the whole point! So if you subtract the amount of energy (foreign oil) used to power the car/planes from the amount of foreign oil to power the train, you'll notice that the difference is larger in favor on the train.

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Kamots, you need to understand that trains are incredibly fuel efficient compared to cars or airplanes.

Posted by: cerebral_but | April 16, 2009 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"Spendocrats" - yeah Bush couldn't EVER be associated with record spending by the Government. And all that record spending he "wasn't" doing was going towards GREAT things that REALLY helped us out! I mean, we got into this recession we are in now somehow, but it certainly had NOTHING to do with the Republican spending habits...give me a break. It's great being in the middle and seeing how stupid some of the crap that comes out of each side really is. "Spendocrats"....what a JOKE!

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

So, Obama thinks spending billions of dollars on a new railway system is going to make the environment cleaner and reduce our dependency on foreign oil, great! I guess these trains run on that new fuel FAIRY DUST! What is he thinking? From what I know to be true, trains run on either diesel or electricity and both are usually derived from FORIEGN OIL. Since he doesn’t want to drill for oil on U.S. soil and he is completely against nuclear power plants, I don’t see how this is going to help any. If he really wants to help the environment & set an example, stop making all those trips on AIR FORCE ONE and start video conferencing. I don’t see any liberals talking about that.

Posted by: kamots | April 16, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I voted for Bush twice, and against Obama. Shame on me; I get no credit for this country having a real leader as president for the first time since Reagan.

Posted by: cerebral_but | April 16, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

OK, first of all, Bubbettel, know what you are talking about before you start talking. The fact that people think a high speed train system would fail in this country is MORONIC at best. they work everywhere else and are EXTREMELY beneficial. In a country this size, it is ridiculous that there isn't a solid train system. Amtrack was a failure because they had an awful business plan. The majority of their trips require you to ride on a bus! That makes no sense! That is why it failed. Secondly, it wasn't fast enough. 10 hours is what it says it will take to go from San Jose to LA....IT TAKES LESS TIME TO DRIVE THAT DISTANCE (about 9)!!!

What we need is some serious planning and modeling off of high speed train systems currently operating elsewhere and model ours off of those.

Oh yeah, Bubbettel, when tax money is being spent by the Government on things like this, you should be happy! It means it is going towards something important....you know, the infrastructure of this country!

Posted by: bryangirkins | April 16, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to disappoint, but the money allocated is a "down payment". The actual cost to build all of this has never been mentioned. What's a few more trillion dollars here or there. What the heck just keep the printing presses running. Wheeee? Wonder if Obama will show up with an engineer's hat. That would be special.

I assume by your name Dipolemat that you must be a stripper at some adult club. You have been spending too much time on the pole, literally. Drill, drill, drill indeed. Must be why you want to bend over and let the Spendocrats sell out Citizens and future generations to the government company store.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 16, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

amtrack is a failure because it's a company run by stupid people on outdated tracks systems in the only western country that doesn't support rail with significant tax money. anyone who thinks that high speed rail isn't important is just another willfully ignorant suburban gas guzzling macho idiot who obviously has never been out of the country, yet thinks that everything america does is better than everything everyone else in the world does. we have a lot to learn from other peoples and governments, just ask ANYone who has ever been to another modern country. grow up morons.

Posted by: chorpophone | April 16, 2009 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Bubbette1 you clown this isn't new money this is money already allocated.

This is why it was important to get Obama in the White House. Stop the madness of just drill, drill, drill and come up with long term solutions to some fundamental problems!

Coming next week: Anti-high speed rail protests drummed up by Faux News. Don't want any of that "socialist" stuff here.

Posted by: TheDiplomat | April 16, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Obama, you are delusional. Stop spending money. Fyi: the Country is broke. No one is buying our Treasury notes. We are printing mountains of worthless dollars. Maybe you should to Disneyland and ride the rails. Say hello to your cousin Dumbo.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 16, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Amtrax was a failure and could not pay for itself. This will be a failure too. This is a giveaway. The Prez or Congress are getting a kickback somewhere.

Posted by: billisnice | April 16, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

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