On His Way Out of the Governor’s Office, Ted Strickland Strickland Won’t Delay $25 Million Study for 3C Train
Bill Hershey in the Dayton Daily News has the incredible news on what may be one Strickland’s final act of irresponsible fiscal management:
A study released on Monday sparked more disagreement about Ohio’s plans to develop passenger rail service linking Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland.
Also Monday, Amanda Wurst, spokeswoman for Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, a key booster of the Ohio rail plan, said the governor rejects state Sen. Shannon Jones’ request that the state delay signing planning contracts for the Ohio project until after the election.
Strickland supports the rail plan while Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich is opposed.
“Connecting the Midwest”, the report from the Ohio Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) Education Fund, said that a completed Midwest high speed rail network – including connections in Ohio – over 10 years of construction would:
*Create more than 57,000 permanent jobs.
*Improve the environment by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
*Give Midwestern manufacturers of railroad equipment a boost.
“You’re either part of the problem or part of the solution,” said Jeff Griffin of PIRG. “Rail is part of the solution.”
However, Rob Nichols, spokesman for Kasich, said Kasich, if elected would end the rail project because of slow speed of the trains, questions about ridership and other problems.
If Kasich becomes governor, “this train will never leave the station,” said Nichols.[...]
Jones, R-Clearcreek Twp., said, however, that she has been a long-time critic of the plan and said it makes sense to delay signing contracts for a planning study until after the Nov. 2 election.
The Controlling Board has approved releasing $25 million for the study but contracts still are being “finalized,” Scott Varner, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Transportation, said. The money would come from $400 million in federal funds awarded to the state for the rail project.
Facing an $8 billion dollar budget deficit, Gov. Strickland is wasting no time in wasteful spending on a study for a 39 mph train which will NEVER go fast enough to meet the federal mandate of 110 mph, because the tracks can’t handle it and local industry doesn’t want to go above 79 mph.
If we assume CO2 is pollution- which I think is quite debatable- it is true that such trains use less CO2 than buses. But, as many Ohioans will chose to drive to train stations instead of taking the bus, buses will be carrying fewer passengers… which means when taken as a whole, more CO2 will be produced. It is certainly more efficient in terms of costs and greenhouse gas reduction for consumers to go the route of hybrid cars.
And the best part? You, as a federal income taxpayer, will pay $1000 for this train just to begin with, regardless if you ever ride it.
These job creation numbers are specious and impossible to calculate. Based on Keynesian economic models, just like any “stimulus” spending, many assumptions are made while the other side of the equation– where that money is taken OUT of the economy– is ignored. Liberals believe that spending leads to a multiplying effect which boosts consumption and economic activity, when you keep your own money they think it goes into a black hole where it’s never seen again. Never mind that savings, in classical economics, is investment and becomes real loanable funds and allows for the real type of sustained economic growth that Ohio, and America, needs.
Passenger trains are 19th century technology, and it’s absurd to think someone will use for business a train which takes 6.5 hours to travel from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Kasich understands this, but even if he wins, we just spent $25 million on a study he will rightfully ignore.
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