Thursday, September 23, 2010

All Aboard...Or Else

Lurking under the surface amidst all the other daily outrages lies yet another potential extortion attempt against private business..
To save time and money, government officials want new high-speed rail routes to operate on the vast system of train corridors that already crisscross the U.S., unlike European and Asian countries that have built dedicated tracks for high-speed rail.
High speed rail on low speed networks. What could go wrong? Just call it HSR on the cheap, brought to you by Chicago machine tactics:
Federal officials call the money an unprecedented federal investment in the U.S.'s rail network, and say the high-speed rail funds will add capacity that will benefit freight railroads. John Gray, senior vice president of policy and economics at the Association of American Railroads, says the stimulus funding pales in comparison to the $460 billion railroads have sunk into their own infrastructure over the past 30 years.

"It is interesting money perhaps," he said of the federal funds. "But is it the kind of thing you sell your soul for? No."

The success of many of the projects depends on cooperation between freight railroads and states, Mr. Porcari said. "It is something we're going to insist on."
Emphasis added to make the point...these railroads better play ball and take the money because it's something the government is "going to insist on". Sort of like the healthy banks who had to take TARP money or Obama's new insta-regulation on the position of debtors in the GM bankruptcy. Or many of the shakedowns seen in the health care reform.

Those paying attention may have noticed all the TV commercials from the freight rail companies since 2008, which is weird since their customer base is fixed industrial. So why waste the money?

Most likely because they're trying to remind the masses that transporting freight by rail is the original 'green' way to move goods, something so eco-friendly that even Al Gore should approve. Therefore, when the liberals come brandishing pitchforks looking for easy right of ways to pursue HSR on the cheap, diluting the eco-friendly freight network, the masses will see that as a threat to the planet itself.

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