Are High Speed Rail and Renewable Energy "Liberal Fantasies"?

Michael Lind of the New America Foundation thinks that plans for high-speed rail and renewable energy are expensive fantasies that liberals need to give up on as soon as possible.
June 9, 2010, 7am PDT | Michael Dudley
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Lind argues that high-speed rail improvements for commuters would be hugely expensive and would not yield the benefits as would improved highways for freight, and that we need to move to a largely nuclear future in the long term. Anything else is not being "reality based." He writes,

"High-speed rail is the transportation technology of the future -- and always will be...High-speed rail in America is perpetually discussed and never built. The...reason is that federal and state officials repeatedly have concluded that the costs of high-speed rail proposals outweigh the benefits. A train is a kind of expensive, pre-modern bus or truck caravan that can never change its route because it is fastened to the road. As nations grow more affluent, their people prefer the convenience of personal automobile transportation to the inflexibility of mass transit.

If fixed-rail mass transit is a transportation technology of the 19th century rather than of the 21st, what transportation investments make sense? Focusing on freight infrastructure improvements, [which will mean] that, among other things, we need to build more highway lanes and in some cases new highways for the trucks that will continue to carry most freight.

There is [also] no public support in the U.S. or any other industrial democracy for the combination of self-imposed austerity and massive subsidies that would be necessary to create an economy based on renewable energy."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, June 8, 2010 in
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email