With all the studies, plans and false starts for high-speed rail in the U.S., you’d think a proposal for privately-funded high-speed rail in Texas connecting Dallas and Houston would be embraced with open arms. Especially in red Texas, home of can-do independent spirit.
It’s here however that train-hate is overshadowing can-do. Despite the confidence that a monumental infrastructure project can be built privately and be profitable, lawmakers and others are out in force making obviously false claims– like there are no profitable high-speed rail systems in the world– and otherwise digging through pocket lint to find reasons to oppose the project. Kyle Workman of the group Texas Against High Speed Rail made such a statement recently at a meeting in Montgomery, Texas. In fact, however, even Amtrak’s Acela train in the Northeast covers operating costs.
Other arguments complain that Texas needs more (government subsidized) roads, or argue the high speed rail in Texas may fail to produce adequate revenue and later ask to be subsidized, and would require the use of eminent domain.
One bill would require every municipality and county along the route to approve the line.
Come on Texas. We can do this. Trains have only been unprofitable in the last half-century because the government has subsidized so much competition. Now the technology is there, stop setting up government roadblocks and let the market decide.
Image: High-speed trains in Taiwan By Yali Shi [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons