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Reason Foundation

High Speed Rail Earns Boondoggle Award--From the Government!

Samuel Staley
June 22, 2011, 3:08pm

You know a project has sunk pretty deep in a political abyss when it's labeled a boondoggle by the government! That's what's happened to the California High-Speed Rail and its "train to nowhere." The U.S. House Budget Committee, headed by Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, has called the project out as a waste of taxpayer money and officially dubbed it a boondoggle in a June 15, 2011 press release from the committee. The committee lobs numerous criticisms of the project, but the last point probably sums it up:

"California’s train to nowhere is a monument to the failure of the $821-billion stimulus bill. The Obama administration promised the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8 percent; but the jobless rate continues to hover around 9 percent while economic growth remains weak. Americans were told the stimulus funds would be spent quickly, on “shovel-ready” projects, to jump-start the economy; yet more than 2 years later the administration is still trying to find takers for its high-speed rail awards, and construction on the ill-fated California project will not begin until the fall of 2012 at the earliest."

Reason Foundation's ongoing commentary and research on high-speed rail can be found here.


Samuel Staley is Research Fellow


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