The following is reprinted with permission from Federal Transportation Issues, a blog of the Washington State Department of Transportation. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Cascadia Center of Discovery Institute.
By Larry Ehl
Last week Secretary LaHood offered this brain teaser related to the
current debate over investing in high speed rail: What if President had
“waited until he had all the cash on hand, all the lines drawn on a map,
and all the naysayers on board.” His answer:
“America would not boast the state-of-the-art interstate highway system
we have today. . . .When it comes to high-speed rail, we stand at a
similar crossroads. And, if we fail to prepare for the decades ahead by
taking similarly innovative steps to add capacity to our infrastructure,
we will shortchange future generations and deprive them of the tools
they will need to compete in a global economy.”
LaHood goes on to say that “With our population expected to swell by 70
million over the next 25 years, continuing to rely on congested highways
and overburdened airports is simply unsustainable and would constrain
America’s economic growth.”
In 2010 Amtrak Cascades ridership increased 10% over the previous
year. Critics who allege the increase is due only to the Vancouver
Olympics miss the fact that ridership in non-Olympic months also
increased. And that ridership has steadily increased over time.
And yes, Amtrak service is subsidized. Just like every other mode.
Read the rest of Sec. LaHood’s argument for investing in high speed passenger rail: Passenger rail investments add needed capacity to America’s transportation infrastructure, USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood’s blog