A $53 Billion High-Speed Rail Program to Nowhere

Vice President Joe Biden announced today a plan to spend $53 billion over the next six years on passenger high-speed rail projects that will help reach the goal of giving 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail within 25 years.  read more »

The Real Answer to Houston's Traffic Congestion

The Houston Chronicle editorial board recently argued that light rail is key to combating Houston's traffic congestion problems. But if you look at the three cities with worse traffic congestion than Houston - DC, Chicago, and LA - they have much more transit, including tons of light rail in LA. Transit clearly hasn't solved the problem in these cities. These people aren't stuck in that traffic because they like it - it's because the transit doesn't go where they need to go or isn't timely.  read more »

Confirming International Research: Hudson Tunnel Costs Explode

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey is looking like a prophet now. In late October, the Governor cancelled a new tunnel across the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York City, because of the potential for cost overruns, which would be the responsibility of New Jersey taxpayers. By that point, the cost of the tunnel had escalated at least $1 billion to $9.7 billion.  read more »

California High Speed Rail Costs Escalate 50 Percent in 2 Years

The highly respected Californians for Responsible Rail Design (CARRD) has released a new cost estimate for the phase 1 Los Angeles to San Francisco high-speed rail line. Based upon an analysis of California high-speed rail Authority documentation, including stimulus grant applications and other internal sources, CARRD estimates that the line will now cost $65 billion, rather than the current estimate of $43 billion.

The CARRD release indicated:  read more »

Brookings Economist Decries Transit Subsidies, Calls For Privatization

In his new book, Last Exit: Privatization and Deregulation of the U.S. Transportation System, Brookings Institution economist Clifford Winston contends that transit subsidies are largely the result of labor productivity losses, inefficient operations and counterproductive federal regulations.  read more »

Double Digit Ridership Increase Leaves London-Paris-Brussels High Speed Rail Behind Projections

The Eurostar, the high speed rail service that links London with Paris and Brussels remains more than 60 percent below its ridership projections as of 2010, according to recently released ridership information. This is despite a double digit (12 percent increase in ridership between 2009 and 2010.  read more »

China Expressway System to Exceed US Interstates

This should be the year that China's intercity expressway system exceeds the length of the US interstate highway system. China's expressways are fully grade separated, freeway standard roadways, but unlike most interstate highways, have tolls.  read more »

A Train to Nowhere: Not A Train Through Nowhere

In expressing its opposition to the California High Speed Rail line, Washington Post editorialists noted that critics of the now approved Borden to Corcoran segment have called the line a "train to nowhere" ("Hitting the breaks on California's high speed rail experiment"). The Post call this:  read more »

Skepticism About High-Speed Rail Is Growing

"Spend first, answer questions later." So concludes a critical editorial in the January 12 edition of the Washington Post, commenting on California's proposed $43 billion High-Speed Rail program. The Post editorial, along with a January 11 article in the New York Times (both of which we reprint below), are emblematic of the increasingly skeptical press and public opinion concerning the fiscal and economic soudness of the Obama Administration's high-speed rail initiative.  read more »

Trying to Keep Hope Alive: High-Speed Rail in Illinois

Despite the rejection of high-speed rail in many states, Illinois is trying to revive it. The Illinois Department of Transportation recently made a cooperative agreement with Union Pacific and Amtrak to fund passenger rail improvements for its line from Chicago to St. Louis with a $1.1 billion federal high-speed rail grant.  read more »