Hear that loud WHOOSH? That’s the sound of China whizzing past the United States in its development of a high-speed rail technology. China has the world’s longest high-speed rail network. The country’s not satisfied to rest on its laurels though. It has plans to have 8,125 miles of the network in operation by 2012—and 10,000 miles by 2020.
In late October, China inaugurated the world’s fastest train. “The China-made CRH380 train has been clocked at almost 420 kilometres per hour (kph) (262 miles per hour (mph), a world speed record, though it will usually operate at a maximum speed of 350 kph (220 mph).”
According to an article in The Mainichi Daily News, the United States leads the world in freight railroad technology but has little high-speed rail expertise. The United States will most likely “have to import the technology for the 13 regional projects that have won $8.5 billion in initial federal funding, with $2.5 billion more to come this year and hundreds of billions needed before lines are up and running.”
Back Here in the United States
Two newly elected GOP governors have pledged to kill $1.2 billion in funding for high-speed rail in their states—John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin. According to Think Progress, “Walker warned he would fight President Obama to keep the Milwaukee-Madison link killed ‘if he tries to force this down the throats of the taxpayers.’” Kasich has called the high-speed rail project that would link Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati “one of the dumbest ideas that he’s ever heard. He even used his victory speech to announce, “that train is dead.”
Kasich and Walker and politicians like them are definitely not progressive thinkers. I guess they prefer the status quo. Is this what conservatism is all about? Is our country on a high-speed train to becoming the United States of Luddites???
I wonder why Huey Lewis’s song Back in Time came to mind when I was writing this post???
Picture Credit: 颐园新居
-Elaine Magliaro, Guest Blogger
66 thoughts on “Derailing Progress in the US”
Take the Short Rail…
Elaine has a point, since she is a tax payer she has a say in infrastructure spending. Not much but a little, although if she went to go see the head of the transportation committe she would get patronized and then the chairman would tell her he’ll take her suggestions under advisement, give her a thumbs up and shove her ass out the door. The door would most likely hit her in the ass and he would turn to his staff and say “god damn I have to put up with this shit to get re-elected?”. They would all laugh and Sam would say “it’s only every 2 years, you can ignore them for 23 months and go back to your district for 1 month to suck up and make nice. We need the job and besides Mary Sue gives good head so you’ll be missing out on that if you dont.” Everyone laughs and Mary Sue protests that there is know way Sam could know because she hasnt blown him yet.
Compare that to a problem I had a few years ago with a cell phone, I called the local rep and she told me to go pound sand. I called the regional VP’s office and talked to his administrative assistent. I got a call 10 minutes after I hung up with the AA and the local rep was kissing my ass. My phone problem was taken care of in 2 phone calls and I didnt know the AA or the VP and all they had to gain was my patronage.
I am with you, I’ll take Wal Mart over government any day of the week.
I do have harsh words for corporations. Enron, bp, haliburton, blackwater, GM, goldman sachs, AIG. I could go on, but a common theme of most of them is that they are either heavily regulated industries already under much government oversight or were bailed out with taxpayer money when they should have been allowed to go bankrupt. This isnt a failure of the free market, but a failure of government intervention. Not only that but they do not represent the entirety of private enterprise. Private enterprise/free market is literally the sum total of all voluntary human interactions. Yes they are a part of it, but certainly more exceptions than the rule. As for having to invest to have a say in a company, Why should you have any input in the direction of the company if you nothing at stake to lose? Do you walk into mcdonalds and start telling them what theyre going to start putting on their hamburgers from now on? Theyd laugh you out the store.
Barney Frank is still in office and Wachovia and a number of other banks have either gone out of business or been taken over.
I think ekeyra is on the right track, people have more power with the purse than with the franchise.
If you don’t like something Wal Mart does you can quit shopping there tomorrow. If your representative does something you don’t like you might have to wait 2 years to vote.
“Yes you can vote to replace politicians. Every four years.”
There is a presidential electon every four years. The term of office for members of the House of Representatives is two years–and it is six years for members of the Senate.
“As for voting in and out ceo’s you could if you put your money where your mouth is and bought stock you would have a vote. Otherwise why should you have any say in who is or isnt a ceo?”
How many companies that own roads, highways, bridges, and other infrastructure–and that are responsible for their maintenance–do you think I will have to invest in in order to have a say in the building/maintenance of America’s infrastructure if everything is privatized?
“The same cannot be said of the government agency that supposedly regulated it and provided oversight. Why do you have no harsh words for them?”
Have you read the following comment that I posted earlier in this discussion?: “There’s plenty of corruption and incompetence to go around in both government and the private sector.”
I guess I could turn it around and ask why you have no harsh words for private enterprise/corporations.
Yes you can vote to replace politicians. Every four years. With someone who if not worse than at least just as big a sociopath, as power tends to attract people with power and control issues.
As for voting in and out ceo’s you could if you put your money where your mouth is and bought stock you would have a vote. Otherwise why should you have any say in who is or isnt a ceo?
As for not patronizing a road operating company, correct me if im wrong but doesnt the government have a monopoly right now and charge me regardless of how much use i make of their roads, or if i even use them at all? And again, enron screwed alot of people, but it is no longer around to continue that practice. The same cannot be said of the government agency that supposedly regulated it and provided oversight. Why do you have no harsh words for them? Also, let my typo stand as evidence that you shouldnt type angry.
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