At the other political extreme are conservatives who can't recognize a good deal when they see one. And, as most of you know, I am a political conservative, but, by God's grace, not as stupid as some, I hope. And in the middle stands Amtrak, which has proven time and again that it can play at both games, but would be better off if the game didn't change every year or two. I think this constant game change is one reason that Amtrak didn't pick up the ball and run faster with it, taking upwards of two years to decide what kinds of new engines and cars to order, and now it looks like it is too late.
I now agree with most pundits: America has no high speed rail at this point in time, and is unlikely to have any true high speed rail at any time in the reasonable future. So the administration's push for high speed rail is really a political subsidy for "higher" speed rail, which translates into the following: If you have a political entity (such as a transit district) that runs passenger trains or is going to run passenger trains sometime in the future, even if you are only in the "study" phase, you can get high speed rail money as long as your trains will run faster in the future that they do now. For the study-phase districts, that could be 1 mph.
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