Transportation headlines, Monday, Feb. 28

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the library’s blog.

The high-speed rail debate continues:

A lost cause: The high-speed rail race (Washington Post)

Why the Washington Post is wrong about high speed rail (CommuterPageBlog)

High Speed to Insolvency: Why liberals love trains (Newsweek)

Here’s triple dose of high-speed rail debate that will keep you away from your work this morning. The Washington Post pens yet another editorial bemoaning high-speed rail noting that despite its popularity across the globe, the mode often requires subsidies to operate. CommuterPageBlog strikes back saying that high-speed rail is necessary to diversify our transportation portfolio. George Will posts a particularly inflammatory editorial on Newsweek, claiming the main purpose of high-speed rail is to rob individuals of the freedom – or at least the illusion of freedom – offered by the private automobile. One commenter offers a thoughtful rebuttal to this assertion:

To drive a car, I had to take a government class, then a government test, then pay the government a fee to get a government card that lets me drive. To buy the car, I had to choose a model the government allows on the road, pay the government a fee to transfer the title and register it, then get it inspected at a government licensed shop, and insured by a government licensed firm. And THIS makes me a “master of my fate”??

California roads are massively subsidized (California High-Speed Rail Blog)

On a related tangent, the California High-Speed rail blog posts some stats compiled by SubsidyScope regarding highway funding – namely that user-fees do not fully fund our nation’s roads. Local and state funding only cover 39 percent of the cost (can also be thought of as a highway’s farebox recovery ratio) and even when federal funding is taken into account user fees only cover 51 percent.

The Metro Blue Line claims its 103rd death, how can we prevent more? (KPCC)

In the wake of the Blue Line’s latest tragic collision with a pedestrian, KPCC’s Kevin Ferguson wonders if enough is being done to prevent such accidents from happening. A USC professor of civil engineering blames the fact that the line runs at grade, but does not address the fact that other trains across the globe run at grade without matching the Blue Line’s deadly toll. For more information on what Metro has done to address safety along the Blue Line, read our four part series: