Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Think of the jobs that would be created!

A few excerpts from another Antiplanner post on the stupidity of trains.
Anybody can draw a map, and that map is likely to reflect their own particular preferences. The Antiplanner’s ideal high-speed rail line would connect my home in Camp Sherman, Oregon (population 380) with Cato’s offices in Washington, DC. Of course, I tend to move about every eight or nine years, so by the time the rail line was finished the only potential regular customer would be gone. But just think of the jobs that would be created!
Here’s the real problem: America is a two-dimensional place, and we have a 4-million-mile network of highways and streets that allows anyone to get from practically anywhere to practically anywhere else in the contiguous 48 states. Rail lines are one dimensional, and what is worse they serve only selected points on that one-dimensional line. The number of people going from one point served by trains on a line to another point will be a small fraction of the total travelers in any given corridor.

Nor can trains compete with planes, which are not only faster but save money by requiring far less infrastructure. Airlines can respond to changes in travel patterns by altering air routes overnight, but building new rail lines is phenomenally expensive in time, money, and energy. (Rail advocates never mention the energy costs of constructing rail lines, which is typically scores if not hundreds of times greater than any potential annual energy savings from operations.)

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