Once again we jump onto the newest progressive buzz words -- high speed rail.
One would think we learned something after the metro transit bill fiasco. You know, where our sales tax revenue, funds west metro transit issues. High speed trains were developed in Japan and Europe to address their overwhelming need for additional capacity to meet their increasing demand for passenger rail travel.
That is obviously not a situation we have, but my oh my it sure sounds great. I can only see vast amounts of federal and state tax dollars being spent trying to solve someone's perceived problem.
In Japan, high speed trains serve over 45 percent of the nation's population at almost 300 mph. Europe serves their need at 150 to 250 mph. Now those are high speed.
We estimate Chicago to St. Paul at 70 to 80 mph with five stops in between. That's not high speed, that's "let's pretend."
The U.S. Dept. of Transportation states that over 97 percent of people travel in private or commercial vehicles, thats real.
A reasonable person must than conclude that roads and highways are our pressing need. Our country and our state need good-paying jobs.
The U.S.DOT says that for every $1 billion spent on highway construction, over 47 thousand jobs are created annually. That's real.
They also make the point that 33 percent of our state roads are in poor condition. That's real.
If Minnesota wants to be prepared to compete in the post-crises economy than our state and local governments and the business community will have to address this issue and begin work on what's real, and put a stop to the nonsense of let's pretend.
John R. Penas