Things I Didn't Expect to Read, Part 2

Several years ago, I made a bet that California high speed rail would, if built, end up costing over $100 billion.  Incredibly, Kevin Drum is making the same bet.

The disappointing part is that he is quick to say that this project is an outlier, that certainly he still supports other HSR rail projects.  But they all look as bad as the CA project.  The CA project has just gotten more attention and scrutiny because of its size.  If memory serves, Drum was right there supporting the Tampa to Orlando line, which if possible is even dumber than the California line.  In my experience, the difference between a good high speed rail project and a bad one is basically how much one digs into the numbers and challenges the assumptions.  With enough leg work, they all look bad.


  1. marco73:

    Well a high-speed rail line for Tampa to Orlando may be pining for the fjords, but that doesn't mean that politicians can't find other ways to waste money on choo-choos.
    High-speed rail wouldn't work from Tampa to Orlando, but certainly commuters are going to jump on board slow-speed rail. SunRail has a bunch of political heavy weights behind it, so of course the governor has approved spending taxpayer money on slow-rail.

  2. MikeinAppalachia:

    Reading the comments on Drum's article can help one understand why California has financial problems. I especially enjoy the ones that balme any opposition to HSR on "rural rubes".