April 4, 2021

THE DESIRE NAMED STREETCAR: High-Speed Rail Advocates Should Pay Attention to California’s Costly Disaster. New video from Reason TV:

With a Democrat in the White House and a $2.2 trillion infrastructure plan on the table, excitement about high-speed rail is on the rise again. A map by graphic designer and transit advocate Alfred Twu, featuring possible routes for bullet train lines crisscrossing the U.S., has been making the rounds on Twitter. The map was the subject of a recent Vox article that was tweeted out by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

“Gen Z is dreaming big,” he wrote. “It’s time we all did the same.”

“I want her so fucking much,” which was accompanied by a picture of Twu’s map, was how one viral tweet summed up the prevailing mood back in January of 2020.

But anyone taking the promise of high-speed rail seriously should consider California’s disastrous attempt to build a bullet train in recent years—the project is unfinished and over budget, and one of its key political backers has turned against it.

Building high-speed rail requires bulldozing neighborhoods and disrupting communities, and would be a drain on a state’s finances if completed. In 2009, President Barack Obama proposed building 8,600 miles of high-speed rail and received $10.1 billion from Congress toward that goal. The money went to upgrading Amtrak instead.

Railroad’s ability to spread massive amounts of money around obviously appeals to grafting SUV enthusiasts such as Buttigieg. But disrupting communities? The Politico reports “Biden’s Department of Transportation is invoking the Civil Rights Act to pause a highway project near Houston, a rare move that offers an early test of the administration’s willingness to wield federal power to address a long history of government-driven racial inequities.” After Joe and/or President Harris are gone, don’t be surprised if such language is used by their GOP successors to block further expansion of “the desire named streetcar.”

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.