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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

CNN’s Anderson Cooper REPORT ON $12 Billion High Speed Rail Shell Game

Watch the report by Anderson Cooper including these points:

  • President Obama said to "imagine whisking through towns at speeds of over 100 miles per hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation and ending up just blocks from your destination."
  • Projects were evaluated not by worthiness, but by whether they were "shovel-ready"
  • The Vermont train built with $52 million, and which isn't high-speed, carries about 250 passengers from one end of the state to the other each day.

(NOTE: references to video frames and other are made from this related report found on YouTube which could not be referenced from this blog due to system error.  Cut and paste this url to watch: ) 

or directly to the President's statement followed by map and LaHood interview:

  • Four years ago, President Obama announced a plan to spend $8 Billion dollars as seed money to get high speed rail off the ground, followed by $1 Billion annually to install Japanese/European-style trains
  • The state of Washington received over $800 Million to improve tracks from Seattle to Portland.  This expenditure resulted in an average trip reduction of 10 minutes. 
  • See the interview with Ray LaHood, outgoing Transportation Secretary (start at about 3:35 minutes to see President Obama’s vision, followed by a talk with La Hood at 4:00 minutes)
  • LaHood says he believes people “like the investments we’re making” and states “there’s so much enthusiasm in America for high speed rail.”
  • La Hood also says train trip speeds have been improved, but that was not the stated goal of the BILLIONS spent.  LaHood could not articulate any plan for real high-speed rail (typically 220 miles per hour with “bullet” trains) anywhere.  He had no answer for “WHEN?” rail
  • One proposal for high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles has been in planning stages for 10 years, but no track has been laid.  From animations depicted, it would run along the Pacific Ocean on at least a portion of the plans, destroying the coastal views so important to California. 

Cooper and investigative reporter Drew Griffin discuss that people were told our BILLIONS would be spent on real high-speed rail and networks, but this administration is actually investing in slight improvements on slight time improvements for old trains.  In other words, Obama announced a plan he would initiate with no taxpayer input, then spent $Billions on something other than what was promised. 

At the 3:40 mark on the video, see that Charlotte is an endpoint of one proposed section for high speed rail, traveling through Atlanta to Burmingham, Alabama.

Multiple reports have surfaced that Charlotte’s Mayor Anthony Foxx is one of two names in the running to be the new Secretary of Transportation for President Obama.  Based on his history in Charlotte, an appointment to spearhead this type of planning and spending seems like well within his repertoire.

Consider the wildly unpopular tax-people-who-eat-prepared food from grocery stores-or-who-eat-at-restaurants tax Foxx is trying to jam through Charlotte to pay $145 Million for upgrades to billionaire Jerry Richardson’s stadium for the Charlotte Panthers:  Foxx is quoted in the Charlotte Observer that managing negotiations about a football stadium is “like a ball going through a pinball machine.”  His thoughts were given in reply to a letter from “Tom Sasser of Harper’s Restaurant Group and the chair of the Charlotte group, said he supports the city’s latest proposal of a half-cent sales tax that would end after 15 years… This is a unique local issue,” Sasser wrote. “Though we have been told we cannot make a statement opposed to the state board’s opinion, we feel that in this case, at the risk of losing our chapter’s charter, we have to make this statement.”

This delayed endorsement, after initially panning the idea, is not a ringing endorsement. 

Whether Mayor Foxx goes to Washington or not, business will probably continue to operate with local government in this way until more people get informed and involved.

Now see this other important Anderson Cooper report:

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