Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Wonders of Dear Leader's High Speed Rail

China's high-speed rail network opened to passengers only in 2007, but has grown at breakneck speed thanks to huge state funding and is already the largest in the world, with 8358 kilometres of track at the end of last year. [snip]

Emergency workers at the crash site were seen using heavy machinery to bury the wreckage, and Chinese authorities have been quoted as saying they did so to protect the country's technological secrets. [snip]

In February, Beijing sacked the then railways minister, Liu Zhijun, for allegedly taking more than 800 million yuan ($124 million) in kickbacks linked to contracts for high-speed rail expansion.
Well what do you know--cutting corners, kickbacks, and cover-ups. Then there's this from the unaccountable Big Gov: "Do Not Question" - Full Directive From China's Ministry Of Truth On High Speed Train Wreck Censorship

High speed rail is a bad idea for this country. Via Reason:
"At the urging of the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the rail authority asked the U.S. DOT for more flexibility about where and when to build the initial "operable" segment. The LAO went as far as recommending that "If the state can’t win a waiver from the federal government to loosen the rules and the timing for using high-speed rail grants, it should consider abandoning the project." Not only would the Central Valley segment, by itself, have insufficient ridership and revenues to stand on its own, the Legislative Analyst wrote, but "the assumption that construction of the Central Valley segment could move quickly because of a lack of public opposition has already proved to be unfounded." The LAO suggested several alternative segments that could be more financially viable and economically beneficial than the Central Valley segment. They included Los Angels-Anaheim, San Francisco-San Jose and San Jose-Merced.
"But in a remarkable exercise of inflexibility and delusion, the U.S. Department of Transportation turned a deaf ear to the request. "Once major construction is underway...the private sector will have compelling reasons to invest in further construction," the DOT letter stated in an assertion totally unsupported by any evidence."
What may be most intriguing from a political economy perspective is that high-speed rail is the quientessential progressive public policy project, but paradoxically, it exists solely because of a "vision" and funding provided by the central national government. One of the most important ideas underlying progressive politics is that of an efficient, expert driven, administratively powerful, and unified government, eschews political approaches to government programs in favor of evidence-based (or "scientific") public policy goals. Of course, if you recall from the 2008 election, President Obama is a self-described progressive politician and even called for "evidence-based" public policy on the campaign trail.
California's high-speed rail project fails virtually every test of progressive politics yet it remains a signature program of a self-styled progressive president...
It's not cost effective anywhere in America except perhaps the NY-beltway corridor, and will impede the passage of freight, which does make economic sense.

Yet this stupidity is on the president's do not cut list.

No wonder we the people sent real leaders to DC to stop this, one of many costly wrongs.

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