Counterpoint: High-Speed Rail Can Be a Good Investment - Post 1: Commuting (??!)

Last Monday, Robert J. Samuelson published an op-ed in the Washington Post suggesting the high-speed rail is nothing but pork.  At one point he says:

"What would we get for this huge investment? Not much. Here's what we wouldn't get: any meaningful reduction in traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, air travel, oil consumption or imports."

I think he is wrong on all counts, and I'll deal with each one-at-a-time over the next few days.

First: traffic congestion.  Another quote: "Even assuming 250,000 high-speed rail passengers, there would be no visible effect on routine commuting."

 Well, duh!  High-speed rail has nothing whatsoever to do with commuting.  Setting up this irrelevant strawman that he can then knock over is a waste of ink and damages his credibility on the other points.  It's as stupid as saying, "Building a third Chicago airport will have no visible effect on routine commuting."

I'm certain Mr. Samuelson is smarter than this, so why does he spend two paragraphs trying to make a point that high-speed rail is going to have some sort of effect on traffic.  I don't know.  Some of the commenters to the article suggested it was a paid oil-company promotional op-ed.  I'm not quite that cynical.

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