One of the problems with government central planning is that too many corrupting interests get in the way of good solutions and it always ends up being at the expense of taxpayers.
Ostensibly, the argument for high-speed rail is that it is supposed to be a solution to highway and air traffic congestion plus environmental blah, blah, blah. Conservatives, seasoned by experience, recognize that one of the big reasons for proposed high-speed rail programs is that it provides huge opportunities to transfer lucre from taxpayers to favorite constituencies, for example labor unions and environmental groups. Many average citizens with central-planning tendencies of their own, of course, don’t understand this. It is only after huge sums have been wasted/transfered on such boondoggles that they realize that the trains run empty and bleed the treasury.
However, what happens when private industry comes up with better solutions to real problems, at a fraction of the cost? Here’s a great article by Michael Barone that highlights one solution: private bus lines, started up by private citizens, designed to meet specific needs.
This is interesting to me. When my daughter was at the university, she and other students made use of such a bus line to travel back to Chicago on weekends. The bus line had been started by the mother of a student and was hugely popular…and cheap! And, no taxpayers were gored in the creation of this service.
I am sure that once the government bureaucracy bestirs itself and takes notice, it will find a way to put a stop to this unwanted competition. Any bets on how they’ll do it?