A high-speed train wreck for Obama and liberalism

A high-speed train wreck for Obama and liberalism

Few of President Obama‘s initiatives are more emblematic of his early ambitions to be a transformational liberal leader than his vision for connecting the nation with a vast high-speed rail network.

The dream of building a system of bullet trains in the United States akin to what exists in Europe involves massive and sustained government spending, more money for unions, and promises to move the nation away from car-based transportation. Thus, it represents everything that excites American liberals.

Obama’s February 2009 economic stimulus package committed $8 billion to 79 projects spanning 31 states that were to lay the groundwork for “13 new, large-scale high-speed rail corridors across the country.”

In his 2011 State of the Union address, Obama touted high-speed rail as a central part of his plan for “winning the future.”

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“Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail,” Obama boasted. “This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying — without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already under way.”

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