SO MUCH FOR OBAMA'S SPENDING FREEZE - $53 BILLION FOR HIGH SPEED RAIL NO ONE WANTS
But Obama claimed in the SOTU that he was proposing freezing spending while in the same speech also proposing hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending which more than counter balanced the proposed freeze. Now Biden steps forward on behalf of Obama and announces a $53 billion dollar new program for high speed rail with $6 billion being spent in fiscal year 2011. Doesn't sound like much of a freeze to me.
Biden claimed that without the high speed rail system we could not be the leader of the world since China and Japan already have a system in place. An extremely bogus claim if there ever was one. High speed rail is not and will not help maintain our position as leader of the world. That criteria comes for many other reasons not the least of which being, having the largest and although weaker than in the past, strongest economy in the world not to mention our military capabilities which are far superior than any country on the face of the Earth.
But setting this bogus claim of Biden's aside about the necessity of high speed rail to keep our status as leader of the world there is also a major difference in rail use in our Nation and the countries that Biden claims we must compete with. First the rail system in place now called AMTRAK cannot financial operate without government subsidies because simply put there is not enough customer traffic to keep the rail company afloat.
Second China, Japan and even Europe traditionally have depended on rail transportation as a passenger use for decades where we have not. Almost all of our rail traffic is in the form of transporting freight and not passengers. The truth being that Americans haven't used rail as a form of transportation since the mid 20th Century and spending billions on a pipe dream high speed rail system does not automatically make a passenger base for its success. Like AMTRAK the high speed rail will live off of government subsidies to survive because the customer traffic is not available.
Americans depend much more on air and personal vehicle transportation than China, Japan and Europe and as such passenger rail transportation is not a priority for the American traveler or commuter except in certain areas of the Northeast where some use it for commutes to Washington DC and New York City for example. But that too is limited and not enough to support a high speed rail whose proposed routes will take in out of the Northeast corridor into Chicago and the Midwest even to California.
This is just one more example of unnecessary spending by the Obama administration for a project that no one wants or will use. Someone needs to inform Mr. Obama that you cannot have a spending freeze while continuing to spend. You cannot cut the deficit and debt while continuing to spend money we do not have. You cannot cut spending while continuing to grow government and increase government spending especially on unnecessary and unwanted programs like high speed rail.