Why We Have No High-Speed Rail Lines

Written by: A. Allan Schmid

Primary Source: The Troublesome Economist

America is the only rich country in the world with no high-speed rail lines connecting our major cities.  As any European tourist quickly notes,  fast trains such as the Euro-Star and the French TGV are comfortable and reliable and cheaper than flying.  And, you are not treated like a crimnal while boarding.

Opponents of rail improvement argue that roads are self-sustaining via tolls and gas taxes.  But, in fact the US Treasury yearly transfers from its General Fund to the Highway Trust Fund huge sums that do not equal all of the Amtrack subsidies for the past 40 years.  Federal highway subsidies were $41 billion in 2013; aviation subsidies were $16 billion, while Amtrak received only $1.6 billion.  (Reported in Harpers, July 2014)

Wisconsin’s Republican Governor rejected a Federal offer to build a high-speed rail line from Madison to Milwaukee.  General Motors and Exxon and the oil exporting countries must have cheered this stupidity.

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A. Allan Schmid
Alfred Allan Schmid, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Taught at MSU for 47 years in the Dept. of Agricultural, Food, Resource Economics. In addition to scholarly books, he more recently published a historical novel entitled "The Quest for Land and Fortune."
A. Allan Schmid

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