O'Toole Says Trains Are For Tourists

Randall O'Toole- in a curiously non-audio opinion piece from NPR- says that trains around the world are fun but are otherwise overly expensive transportation systems used mainly by the elite.
March 23, 2009, 9am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"Japan and France have each spent as much per capita on high-speed rail as we spent on our Interstate Highway System. The average American travels 4,000 miles and ships 2,000 ton-miles per year on the interstates. Yet the average resident of Japan travels only 400 miles per year on bullet trains, while the average resident of France goes less than 300 miles per year on the TGV - and these rail lines carry virtually no freight.

Throughout the world and throughout history, passenger trains have been used mainly by a wealthy elite and have never given the average people of any nation as much mobility as our interstate highways.

Moreover, the interstates paid for themselves out of gas taxes and other user fees, while high-speed rail requires huge subsidies from general taxpayers."

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Published on Thursday, March 19, 2009 in NPR
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