July 2nd, 2009
01:15 PM ET
13 years ago

Money train: The cost of high-speed rail

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - President Obama is pouring $13 billion into an ambitious high-speed rail project. Some say it will never make money. Some say it will. And still others say profit is not even the point.

Obama's plan is "to jump-start a potential world-class passenger rail" in 10 major corridors, linking cities within the Northeast, California, Florida and other regions with "bullet trains" that exceed 110 miles per hour. State governments are in the process of applying for the federal funds.

Sam Staley, director of urban growth and land-use policy at the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think-tank, said the project is risky, and that forecasts used to promote high-speed rail are "notoriously unreliable" because they "overestimate ridership and underestimate cost."

California, the nation's most heavily populated state, is undergoing the most ambitious project: high-speed rail system that would link San Diego to San Francisco and Sacramento.

Mehdi Morshed, executive director of the California High Speed Rail Authority, estimated that the San Francisco-to-Anaheim leg will cost $34 billion, nearly half of which would come from the federal government.

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Filed under: CNNMoney.com • President Obama
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Lesley

    Rail cars are generally manufactured in Europe. Why couldn't we start manufacturing them here, with all that goes with it, and increase jobs for Americans at factories that are now vacant due to jobs being sent overseas or closed due to the economy. It could start a new manufacturing and supply base that would put Americans back to work. The idea of innovation is to create new opportunities, not to stifle future creativity and growth by looking backward. Same could be said of energy production, wind turbines, solar panels and such. Instead of sitting around waiting for money to arrive to help keep us in the status quo, we need to recognize that the Obama administration is giving at least the opportunity for new areas of production and growth.

    July 2, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |