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Reason Foundation

Reason Alert: GOP Spending and FL High-Speed Rail

Can Republicans identify spending cuts and how much will the Tampa to Orlando rail line cost?

January 7, 2011

- Tampa to Orlando High-Speed Rail Could Cost $3 Billion More Than Expected
- Memo to Speaker Boehner
- States Consider Privatizing Liquor Sales
- New at Reason  

Tampa to Orlando High-Speed Rail Could Cost $3 Billion More Than Expected
If the proposed Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail line goes over budget or fails to meet ridership expectations Florida taxpayers could get stuck with a bill of up to $3 billion, according to a new Reason Foundation report. Long-standing research shows costs are underestimated on nine out of every 10 large passenger rail transportation projects, with cost overruns averaging 45 percent. If the Tampa-Orlando rail line were to go over budget by 45 percent Florida taxpayers would be on the hook for $1.2 billion more than the $280 million currently forecast.  The study warns that Florida may be miscalculating the costs of high-speed rail by even more than that. Consider that the expected cost of building the first segment of California's high-speed rail line is 111 percent higher than Florida's - $67.8 million per mile compared to $32.1 million per mile in Florida. The costs of the Tampa to Orlando system would be $3 billion more than advertised using California's estimated cost per mile.
Full Study Orlando Sentinel - Study: Cost overruns, fewer passengers in Orlando-Tampa high speed train's future
 

Memo to Speaker Boehner
"C'mon, John Boehner: The only reason you're wielding that comically oversized gavel as Speaker of the House at all is because of public revulsion at outta-control federal spending. And you can't think of one program to cut? From an interview with NBC's Brian Williams: WILLIAMS: Name a program right now that we could do without.
BOEHNER: I don't think I have one off the top of my head. That's not exactly an ambush, bub. It's right up there in the softball sweepstakes with Katie Couric asking Sarah Palin to name a newspaper she reads or two Supreme Court decisions she disagrees with. The GOP got kicked to the curb in 2006 because they were up-to-the-neck-complicit with the profligate and stupid spending (and bellicose) ways of George W. Bush. If after four years in the supposed wilderness you get power and the first thing you do is walk back the suggestion that you're gonna cut $100 billion out of fiscal year 2011 (still without a budget!), and then your main guy bumbles the query above...well, you're not winning any fans among the growing ranks of independents (read: crypto-libertarians) who want a smaller government that does less and costs less." - Reason.com Editor in Chief Nick Gillespie
Video: Don't Expect the New Congress to Cut Spending Gillespie on Freedom Watch on Spending and the Debt Ceiling Gillespie on Varney and Co.: Can Jerry Brown Fix California?
 

States Consider Privatizing Liquor Sales
Reason magazine's Jacob Sullum writes, "To the extent that the state systems resist privatization by becoming more customer-friendly, they undermine their reason for existing, which is to deter alcohol consumption by making it more expensive, less appealing, and less convenient. Pennsylvania is one of 18 states that control the distribution of alcoholic beverages and one of 12 that operate retail stores directly or by contract. These systems, established after the repeal of Prohibition, are expressly designed to make alcohol less accessible-not just to minors but to adults who might drink too much...The states where wine (and beer) can be purchased along with groceries include Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, which nevertheless confine the sale of distilled spirits to government stores. This year legislators in all three states are considering abolishing that monopoly, with support from the governor in the first two and possibly in the third as well. The opposition to these proposals comes from labor unions representing state liquor store workers, anti-alcohol groups such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and businesses that profit from the lack of competition. In Washington last year, beer and wine companies were the biggest donors to the campaigns against two unsuccessful ballot initiatives that would have privatized sales of distilled spirits. What all these special interests have in common is a disdain for consumers-which is fitting, because that is the inescapable rationale for state alcohol monopolies."
Radley Balko: Abolish Drunk Driving Laws
 

New at Reason  

Friday Funnies: A New Year for TSA

Brian Doherty: Dignity Doesn't Fly With TSA

E.T. Stay Home? Why Haven't We Heard From Aliens?

Steve Chapman: Return of the Minivan

John Stossel: Government Has No Business Attacking Caffeinated Alcoholic Drinks

The Price of Dissent in Putin's Russia

Kurt Loder Reviews Seasons of the Witch

David Harsanyi: The Constitution Is Dead
 

Videos  

Slashing Spending in Post-Soviet Slovakia - Q&A with Richard Durana

How Food Trucks Make Lunch Tastier in the Nation's Capital and Beyond   Ronald Reagan, Ron

Paul, & the Fed: Q&A with David Stockman

Adrian Moore Talking Public-Private Partnerships on Fox Business

Nick Gillespie Discusses Four Loko Bans on Stossel

Audio: Shikha Dalmia on the Indian Ambassador Pat Down on NPR

Complete January Issue of Reason magazine  

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