Friday, November 23, 2012
High-speed rail between Dwight and Pontiac, Illinois saves 10 minutes
Of course money--$8 billion of it--from President Obama's failed stimulus bill was pledged to high-speed rail. An HSR line has been approved by California's broke government between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Construction of the first leg, between remote Merced and Fresno, is scheduled to begin soon. It's expected to cost $68 billion. John Fund says the once-car crazy state is committing "fiscal suicide."
Over in my state, money-losing Amtrak pounded its chest on Thanksgiving by the start of high-speed section on its Chicago to St. Louis route. Instead of riding the rails at 79 miles per hour, Amtrak passengers can breeze from Dwight, Illinois to nearby Pontiac at 110 mph--shaving 10 minutes off of their travel time. Both places are, appropriately enough, prison towns. I've driven on the stretch of Interstate 55 which parallels the Amtrak route, and as the captain of my car, I have the choice to pull off of the road and do whatever I want--visit friends, take photographs, or hunt down an historical site. And I've done that.
Currently, driving from Chicago to St. Louis takes about the same amount of time--five hours--as it does riding an Amtrak train. Assuming one day that the entire route is HSR--billions later the Amtrak choice will last four hours. Yep, so-called high-speed rail will save an hour.
California approves billions it doesn't have for high-speed rail it doesn't need
Route 66 in Dwight, Illinois
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