Today the Courier extends its reputation for hipshooting into the area of transportation policy.
The unnamed Courier editor poo-poohs the paltry 13 billion clams the President is proposing for high-speed rail as inadequate to the task of building a national high-speed rail network. Of course, no one has promised any such thing. From the WSJ:
"Building a high-speed rail network like the one in Western Europe would likely cost hundreds of billions of dollars, but Mr. Obama called the $13 billion effort 'a first step.'"
Perhaps the editor does not quite understand that a first step is necessary to getting anywhere at all. I'm sure he wouldn't be applauding the President if he proposed spending, say, $250 billion on high-speed rail over the next ten years -- a little less than we've already spent on the war in Afghanistan. But no, in the reactionary mind a step forward, if taken by Democrats, becomes a half-measure.
The editor is also miffed that the plan doesn't include us mountain states. (I have to wonder where the editor was when our genius city fathers decided it was a good idea to rip out our local rail line and sell off the land, but never mind.)
From The New York Times:
"The government has identified 10 corridors, each from 100 to 600 miles long, with greatest promise for high-speed development. They are: a northern New England line; an Empire line running east to west in New York State; a Keystone corridor running laterally through Pennsylvania; a major Chicago hub network; a southeast network connecting the District of Columbia to Florida and the Gulf Coast; a Gulf Coast line extending from eastern Texas to western Alabama; a corridor in central and southern Florida; a Texas-to-Oklahoma line; a California corridor where voters have already approved a line that will allow travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two and a half hours; and a corridor in the Pacific Northwest."There's a reason it's called "mass transit" -- it's designed for lots of people to use. Look at the graphic, editor: the lines are where the people are. The city of New York by itself has half again as many people in it than the entire state of Arizona. You want bang for your tax buck, right?
Once again the editor parrots the talking points of the reactionary right without analyzing them or bothering to try to understand what he's criticizing. My best advice to him: stick to your knitting and keep it local, where you have at least a chance of knowing what you're talking about.
Side note: All the facts and a lot of the actual writing in the editorial are lifted from Mark Clayton in the Christian Science Monitor. (Note to editor: Unattributed copying of another's work is known in the trade as plagiarism.)
Update, 11:30pm: I sent part of this piece as a comment on the editorial, and it appears the Courier editor flushed it without a trace. Classy, boys. That sort of behavior is why I keep this blog.
Update, Monday night: Documenting my charge above before the stories roll off into the Nethernet:
CSM: President Obama’s $8 billion plunge into 13 high-speed rail projects nationwide has the potential to become either his “Eisenhower moment” – moving the US into a new phase of transportation modernization – or just a dead end “drop in the bucket."
Courier: On Wednesday, President Barack Obama spoke about a federal spending freeze, but not until 2011. The next day he unveiled parts of the second stimulus, including $8 billion toward high-speed rail projects. It will be either his "Eisenhower moment" - moving the country into a new phase of transportation - or just a "drop in the bucket." ... What Obama is doing as a substitute will result only in a dead end.
CSM: “It really is only a drop in the bucket of what the nation will need to get the kind of high-speed rail network it needs,” says Jack Schenendorf, who was vice chairman of the a blue-ribbon commission that studied the nation’s transportation needs in a 2008 study. “Obviously, for high speed rail, it is a good development. But it will take a lot more money to get these systems built out.”
Courier: "It really is only a drop in the bucket of what the nation will need to get the kind of high-speed rail network it needs," said Jack Schenendorf, who was vice chairman of the a blue-ribbon commission that studied the nation's transportation needs in a 2008 study. "Obviously, for high-speed rail, it is a good development. But it will take a lot more money to get these systems built out."
See where our editor even cribbed a typo? Cut-and-paste for sure. Naughty boy.
Update, 11pm Monday: Well, well, well, there are situations in which the editors will stoop to correcting mistakes online! An anonymous commenter alerts me that the editorial has been changed, sometime in the last four hours, adding attribution of the copied bits to the CSM. Pity he didn't get the typo while he was at it. Must've been in a hurry.