Tag: High-Speed Rail

Ricochet.com Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel is in for Jim today.  Join Greg and Jon as they welcome Sen. Sinema’s demands of no tax hikes on corporations, individuals, or capital gains. They also hammer Pres. Biden for pushing for the guaranteed boondoggle of high-speed rail, but Biden also admits the real goal is to get your car off the road. And they cringe as Democrats in Virginia take another swing at loosening absentee ballot rules.

 

Is This Any Way to Run a Railroad?

 

For more than 16 years, I managed the government affairs function for a Fortune 250 company from its headquarters in southern New Jersey, across the expansive Delaware River from downtown Philadelphia.

It was a challenge to lobby federal agencies and Congress from someplace other than the Washington, DC area. After all, there are more than 12,000 registered lobbyists in Washington (under the Lobby Disclosure Act, certain “full-time” influencers must file with the House and Senate, including periodic disclosures), and most of them live and work in and around DC’s beltway.

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Gavin Nuisance, in a rare spasm of Common Sense, is apparently canceling the California High-Speed Choo-Choo boondoggle. The CHSCC was supposed to go from LaLa Land to San Franpsycho, but going up the coast was never really an option because it would have annoyed the rich people who live there. This was not so much […]

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What Is the Future of Pricey Bullet Train Projects in a World of Driverless Cars?

 

shutterstock_200996891_BullettrainsThe Wall Street Journal reports that the “U.S. government has approved the first federal funds for an ambitious plan to tap Japanese technology for a high-speed train project that could carry passengers between New York and Washington, D.C. at more than 300 miles an hour.”

Indeed, politicians have lots of big transportation ideas, like a $10 billion business terminal in New York or that ever-more-expensive California bullet train. But when dreaming up these super-pricey projects, are politicians taking into account autonomous vehicle technology? What should transportation policy be given the following scenario, sketched out by Princeton’s Steven Strauss?

Fleet ownership of AVs could reduce the number of cars on the road by 60% to 90% due to more efficient usage and, consequently, reduce car sales by an equivalent percentage. Many of the 1 million jobs in U.S. auto manufacturing will probably disappear.

What to do About Amtrak — Beyond the Usual Suggestions

 

051415amtrakBreaking! There’s a major disaster with possible public policy implications! Scramble the hot takes! (I know I often do.)

Here we go: “Amtrak needs help,” asserts the New York Times editorial page. But maybe the “world will lose nothing if the government winds down Amtrak by selling off its profitable lines in the Northeast to a competently-managed private company and scrapping the rest,” as the Washington Examiner argues. Then again, the Center for American Progress claims “Congress’ refusal to acknowledge Amtrak’s predicament has made American trains so inefficient that it’s actually having a dampening effect on ridership growth.” Yet National Review’s Ian Tuttle counters that “Amtrak’s history of fiscal chaos suggests that the service’s problems are not the product of congressional stinginess, but of a faulty assumption (that America needed a passenger rail service) compounded by decades of mismanagement.”

Just privatize it! (Probably won’t happen.) Just throw more money at it! (Probably shouldn’t happen.) Are there any other options? Transportation blogger Alon Levy offered a different path forward in a fascinating 2012 blog post where he sketched out a hypothetical future in which a profitable Amtrak had surging ridership and high-speed rail. Here are its guts:

Kevin McCarthy, Standing Athwart Jerry Brown

 

In the final clip from my recent conversation with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy for Uncommon Knowledge, we turn to California politics — specifically to the future of the Golden State’s high-speed rail project, a topic on which McCarthy has become a thorn in the side of Governor Jerry Brown: