HSR Funds Better Spent on Local Transit, Says Editorial

The St. Louis Post Dispatch laments the $1.1 billion the St.Louis to Chicago corridor received for high speed rail, wishing it had gone to worthier projects such as subsidizing local public transit.

Calling it a "Bridge to the 19th Century", the editors think the downpayment for the corridor to be a poor investment that will continually seek subsidies.

"...there are far better, fairer and faster ways to stimulate the economy than spending $8 billion on the relatively affluent 1 percent of Americans who ride trains. Public transit immediately comes to mind. Missouri got (only) $31 million to upgrade St. Louis-to-Kansas City service.

Meanwhile, the Metro transit service in St. Louis gets zero in state tax subsidies."

While the $1.1 billion was not intended to make the corridor truly high speed, it was meant to make it competitive with auto travel.

From White House Fact Sheet: High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program: Chicago - St. Louis - Kansas City (pdf) :
"....improvements to this corridor will be made that allow passenger rail service from Chicago to St. Louis to operate at speeds of up to 110 mph...decreas(ing) travel time to approximately 4 hours, allowing customers to reach their destination 30 percent faster compared to current rail service, and 10 percent faster than driving."

Other local editorials from cities in HSR award-winning states saw the grants differently.

From SF Chronicle: U.S. gets on board:
California's 2.25 billion HSR-ARRA grant "is an example of how stimulus money should be spent: It will create good-paying jobs while adding a practical and enduring asset to the nation's infrastructure. Too much stimulus money to date has been spent on pork-barrel extravagancies or backfilling state dollars to sustain programs."


Full Story: Editorial: High-speed wail: A bridge to the 19th century


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

NEW! City Map Posters

Available in 9 different cities.
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95