Rail--even more controversial than nuclear?

Wow, my posting on high speed sure needled the paranoia among some readers.Says one talkback: "The automobile is one of the great protectors of freedom.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Wow, my posting on high speed sure needled the paranoia among some readers. Says one talkback: "The automobile is one of the great protectors of freedom. The government hates that you can move without supervision and constant tracking or monitoring." Is this the same goverment that has coddled Detroit and the oil companies for decades? Yet this writer apparently uses email, probably a phone of some kind and may even have an ATM or credit card, all "monitored" by an intelligence structure falsely named and hideously ineffective. Besides, who cares if some moron wants to watch me take a train to visit a friend? Another talkback: "No, the reason Amtrak is always in trouble is because they are required to maintain non-profitable lines, have ridiculous labor policies and are heavily regulated by the government. And the rest of the world is not the United States. We have states larger than entire nations. It's asinine [sic] to assume their transportation models can be picked up and dropped onto our nation." America as the special case. We can continue to pollute more and burn more energy per capita than anybody else because...we are Americans? We are Masters of the Universe? Citibank ethos as our national mantra? China can do high speed but we can't? Then the Jindal approach: government sucks. "The real problem comes from the government picking winners and losers with its investments. You wouldn't feel so confident about high speed rail if it squashes a better, more efficient means of transportation. The bottom line is government is and always will be a bull in a china shop. The idea that it approaches (even a little bit) the capacity, efficiency, or innovation of the private market is madness." Absolutely. Let's wait for Lehman Brothers or Enron or Exxon or General Motors to tell us when we need rail and when we don't. Protect us from expecting anything from the government we elect. Better to trust an MBA or CEO, those initials make them far superior to mere voters. A number of the comments indicate writers who believe profit is the ultimate reason for any public enterprise. Commonwealth, public service, equality, fairness, protecting the environment--screw all that, this is about the money. Everything else is socialism, or perhaps worse if somebody would just coin the phrase. Should we expect massive pro-auto protests by people trying to stop construction of high speed rail if it ever gets beyond a planner's map? Is global warming so comforting that we should do nothing to reduce our CO2 output, like switching from planes to rail when it makes sense and saves time? Those wanting to head off the plot to build high speed rail better get themselves to Silicon Valley before this gets out of hand. Planning? Mass transit? The end of the American Way of Life? Those greedy progressives up in Wisconsin are hoping to get better rail service for two lines: Milwaukee-Madison and Milwaukee-Chicago. Think Chicago might get a little federal money? Sad note: the Wisconsin governor had to go to Spain to find good example of high speed rail system and manufacturers. Up in New York State they're dreaming of fast line from Albany to Buffalo and Albany-Manhattan. For the rail haters and rail baiters this is definitely getting out of hand.

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