In today’s Detroit News, we find an article entitled “High-speed rail funding up in air” in which the possibility of granting easement and construction of a “MagLev” high-speed rail line between Ann Arbor and Detroit is discussed.
From the article:
"The "MagLev" rail line would incorporate hydrogen and solar technology, and magnetic forces would propel train cars along stainless steel tubes that could serve as conduits for utilities."
"The hydrogen and solar technology upon which this MagLev rail line" is illusory and/or requires further development, and/or will never be viable and/or cost effective. The technology needs to exist, i.e. real world, cost effective technology that could be installed TODAY without any further development. Otherwise, we’re just pouring money down a rat hole chasing another white elephant which will always be ready, 5 years from now – whenever now is defined.
Who’s going to pay for these right-of-ways? Constitutionally, you can’t just confiscate land from its owner without remuneration of its cost based upon market value.
What about maintenance? Who’s going to do it? How much will that cost? Michigan (and essentially every other government) lauds the construction of these white elephants but fails to include the cost of ongoing maintenance into the evaluation of their long-term viability. The recent (and ongoing) debacle with COBO is an excellent illustration of this kind of government incompetence. So, the budget would get whacked every year due to "unanticipated (LOL)" spending required for "MagLev" rail line support.
What about the inevitable operator/maintenance/"you name it worker classification" union demands for exorbitant salaries and benefits? Since Michigan’s government is just a front for the unions in the state, we can expect $32/hr (or higher) wage rates for employees as well as full medical and pensions for life – and that doesn’t even include the executive patronage jobs the Governor will give his/her buddies to reward them for campaign contributions.
"The $2 billion-plus project would be constructed through a private-public partnership, with private investors putting in the money. State, federal and local governments would share half of the future profits of the system in exchange for granting the easements, according to Justin Sutton, founder of Interstate Traveler Co. LLC, which hopes to build the system in Michigan along Interstate 96, U.S. 23 and I-94."
Profits? Profits?! You will note that the word "Profit" is never defined.
Show me the "Profits" for the SMART transportation system in South East Michigan. Show me the "Profits" for Amtrak. Show me the "Profits" for the Bay Area Transit System (BART) in California. Show me the "Profits" for any "private-public ‘partnership’" and if they claim there are some, I’ll show you carefully manipulated Income Statements and Balance Sheets that obfuscate the real revenue and costs so as to make it appear there is a "Profit".
We (citizens) cannot afford the government we currently are forced to support; much less the expansion of government a "MagLev" rail line would impose upon us.
Get rid of the structural, irrational spending in the current government. Then, we can discuss the possible need and possible funding of a "MagLev" rail line.
Until we get a fiscally responsible government in Lansing (and in Washington) these ‘projects’ are nothing more than pork barrel spending intended purely for the repayment of political favors. They should be avoided like the ‘Swine Flu’ they imitate.