train wreck 2


The Strib reports that Monsieur Oberstar has returned from France, only to berate backward fellow Americans:

Oberstar said he had just returned from a five-day vacation in France with his wife. He lamented the stagnant direction U.S. transportation policy seems to be headed in Washington in light of French trains that quickly speed residents and tourists to even small towns in the countryside cheaply and efficiently.”

We cannot help observe that if Representative Oberstar had spent more time in Minnesota–and less time in France and his home in Maryland, he might realize that what works for Europe, does not work for Minnesota. Minnesota is not France, and the United States is not Europe. But you have to live off the Amtrak corridor and outside of the Beltway to know that.

Oberstar is saying he is staying in the transportation game–and would work with Minnesota’s new governor to secure funding that other Midwest governors are saying they’ll reject in favor of traditional transit (road and bridges for cars and buses). We welcome a vigorous debate on these pages about the future of transportation, and note that the Met Council has trimmed its own long term plan, though it left plenty of dollars in the budget for rail projects that are heavily subsidized by taxpayers. What would happen if rail dollars were spent on traditional transit instead?

Here is the WSJ on what new Midwest governors were saying about high-speed rail just after the election: