California High Speed Rail Commission member Rod Diridon is chafing at all of the competition that has been created by the billions committed by the federal government to high speed rail. According to a New York Times report, he called many of the proposed systems around the country “vultures” and told an American Public Transportation Association meeting “If I can borrow a term from our good friends in labor, they are a 'Do not patronize… And I cannot say it any stronger”. Consistent with that view, Diridon urged that the federal government be asked to commit all of its current $8 billion in funds to the California project.
There may be even more disturbing news for Diridon: new competition has appeared on the horizon. A report (page 23) by the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute (both of Canada) suggests that:
“Using the Edmonton – Calgary example as a template, judgmentally adjusted for distance, geography and relative land values, we estimate that a full high-speed link would cost about $4 billion. If the cost were shared equally between Canada and the United States, the Canadian total would be about $2 billion.”
Why stop at that? How about getting a quarter each from Zimbabwe and the Honduras? It would certainly make it less expensive for Canadian taxpayers. Perhaps our friends to the North simply made a typographical error, but perhaps not. Stranger things have been proposed.