The WaPo earlier this week ran an editorial against California high-speed rail, and on Friday ran a response from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. As the dedicated anti-California HSR blog High-Speed Train Talk says, the letter does a pretty good job of summing up everything that’s wrong with the guy.
The letter starts off with this stunningly ignorant comparison to highway building in the 1950s:
If President Dwight D. Eisenhower had waited until he had all the cash on hand, all the lines drawn on a map and all the naysayers on board, America wouldn’t have an interstate highway system.
And if it didn’t have an interstate highway system, maybe rail transportation wouldn’t have died out in the first place!
We also learn that “put[ting] Californians back to work” is “perhaps [the] most important” goal of the project – a candid admission that this project is more about making work for union workers than it is about transportation. This was obvious beforehand – we will, after all, pay double for the HSR trains due to procurement protectionism – but it’s nice to see LaHood finally admit it.
And just in case we still harbored any delusions about LaHood’s reasoning skills, he rounds the letter out with this blatant tautology:
Focusing the total sum of our federal dollars in one project, as The Post suggests, is a poor strategy that will not serve our long-term goal of creating a national high-speed rail network.