One reason why I’m still skeptical about high-speed rail

There should be a betting market in how many of these projects actually end up being finished within, say, the next thirty years:  

But the biggest question mark hovering over the future of high-speed rail in the United States is funding. The $8 billion allocated in the stimulus package is not nearly enough, particularly because it is spread across a range of projects around the country. California’s new system alone could cost $40 billion. State governments will shoulder a substantial share of the costs, and they are grappling with budget deficits.

These days, many states are cutting or limiting spending on K-12 education.  You can argue "State and local taxes should be higher" (I don't agree), or "We should make drivers bear the full social costs of auto transport" (I do agree), but as they say "You've got to go to war with the army you've got."  So far the HSR expenditures are looking like a big white elephant.  It's very important to have a theory of public choice which consists of more than simply criticizing the politicians, parties, and voters you do not agree with.

The full story is here.


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