At a Springfield press conference last Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said that there would be high speed rail service between Chicago and St. Louis within five years, proving the old adage that it’s better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.
This came as complete surprise to pretty much everyone in the world (the rail part, not the fool part). We’re allegedly getting some kind of fast rail sometime, but even that’s years out. No one had mentioned 160 mph train service before it apparently lept from LaHood’s fertile imagination and out across his lips. Normally, those type of projects require sundry things, like a plan, budgets, surveys, environmental studies, engineering work, site acquisition work, etc. after they’re approved that take years before construction even begins, which takes more years still.
But according to Secretary LaHood, this is all going to happen, idea to turnkey, in five years. I don’t know if he’s measuring that five years from when he thought of it, which must have been recently, or from when Illinois’ congressional representatives were informed about the idea, including Senator Dick Durbin, who apparently heard about it for the first time in the next day’s paper.
He then went on to brag that the Department of Transportation has spent $48 billion over the last two years and created 65,000 jobs. Or just a tad under $370 thousand per year per job. Illustrating once again why, as a Republican, he’s always been the go-to guy when someone tries to say that only Democrats are profligate big government boosters who never met a problem they couldn’t turn into a disaster.
According to the story, he got a bit testy when asked about studies showing the whole high-speed rail program to be the boondoggle that it is, and stated that “I’ve had a front-row seat in making history.”
Considering where this train wreck is headed, one can only hope.