I fear I am getting way too political for a real estate blog but I can't help myself. Breaking news: Midwest to get $400 MM in high speed rail funds. My first thought is that we already have a high speed mode of transportation from Chicago to Detroit and St. Louis. It's called Southwest Airlines: 2 hours and $89 to Detroit and 1 hour and $84 to St. Louis.
What a total waste. The last time I took a train from Chicago to St. Louis (I hurt my back and didn't want to drive and since it was last minute the airfare was a lot higher and I thought the train would be fun) the Amtrak train pulled out of the station with a known mechanical problem, drove a few miles down the track, and parked for like 6 hours while we waited for a substitute engine. It's like putting the post office in charge of getting you somewhere.
I'd like to see the extensive financial analysis that went into deciding that it was worth $200 MM to shave 30 minutes off of the transit time to Detroit. I'd also like to know what the total cost of moving passengers is going to be and what people are willing to pay for this added benefit and how many people are going to use this.
And then we wonder why we have a huge deficit problem. If we want to invest in rail I suspect we would find it more useful focusing on freight transport. Supposedly freight movement grinds to a halt when it gets to Chicago. Consequently our highways in the area are clogged with trucks pulling 40 foot trailers (the drivers of which are talking on their cell phones half the time).