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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

They Are At It Again!!!

We have talked about High Speed Rail transit before.  I have ridden high speed trains in France and Spain, and they are nice.  But there is only one corridor in the U.S. that makes any sense for high speed rail, and that is Boston to Washington.  However, that route would require so much expensive property to be acquired that the cost is completely prohibitive.

The Governor of Florida killed a short high speed project in that state because it didn't make any sense.

However, the Los Angeles to San Francisco high speed rail project lives on.  If you read back in this blog you will find that the original proposal was budgeted to cost $48 Billion and to make it profitable, virtually every one who now flies between LA and SF would take the train.

Today, the train project is now expected to cost $98 Billion!!!  Read that again!  And ridership is still sufficient to make it profitable at the lowest estimates.  And that ridership is vastly greater than any other high speed rail line anywhere in the world.

So here we have a example of a bad idea that won't die and the utter foolishness of Cost/Benefit Analysis.

In theory, the idea of estimating the cost of a project and estimating the benefit of the project, and comparing the two to make better allocations of public resources is a brilliant idea.

However, in reality, the Costs can be anything and the Benefits can be anything.  The high speed rail project between LA and SF is a perfect example of this utter foolishness at work.

We have a system of  45,000 miles of Interstate Highway that moves 80% of all the freight in the U.S. and it is falling apart.  A $100 Billion fund would go along way to making it a first class system again.  That is a Cost/Benefit Analysis that makes sense.

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