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I agree with the AAR on bill passage. AAR's backing of the US House of Representatives Bill version makes very good fiscal sense in these trying economic times. Liberal viewpoint always expresses far reaching so-called needs for massive public transit funding. In reality, public transportation in America is excellent in its present extent. In my metro area; the frozen Twin Cities of Minnesota, we have a very well patronized light rail, with more addition to the system under construction, and a very comprehensive 24-hr., bus route operation. In my home city do we need that much more? Only a western suburb light rail extension would be fine. Anything else would be just extra frosting on the cake that is really not pragmatic. As far as future-time real high-speed rail between America's biggest qualifying cities...this should be a combination of public and private funding; in similar fashion to the "toll road" interstates, found in important progressive industrial states like Illinois, in which we find our country's best operational public road and rail transit system, Illinois of course! Public funded luxury items such as high-speed rail can wait a few years. Interstate bridge and road re-surfacing is incredibly expensive in itself. The fact is that type of maintenance is most required at this time in our nation's history. Senators; be most practical when authorizing your version of the transportation bill.
I guess you are entitled to your opinions, goldenspike, but if that's the case, so am I. First, you use the Twin Cities - I used to live there when BN was headquartered in St. Paul - and surely you must have learned in statistics that a universe of one is a lousy sample. Second, the House bill authorizes $260 billion of transportation spending over five years, but does not provide the $260 billion. That means that either there will not be $260 billion spent on the authorized programs or Congress will be forced to appropriate funds from the Treasury's general revenue to make up the Highway Trust Fund shortfall, as it has in the past several years. And you know what that's called, goldenspike? It's called a subsidy. I wish some of you conservatives one day would be rational and think beyond the sloganeering at which you excel.
The long and the short of it is that this country has a growing population and a growing economy. That means we need all the infrastructure we can get. And as domestic intermodal is the fastest growing business railroads have, it also means that railroads need more and better-maintained roads. This is not a truck vs. rail debate, especially if the truckers and shippers that operate big private truck fleets drop their effort to get a 20% increase in truck size and weight without paying for it. When did you conservatives begin to believe in free lunches, anyway?