Cynical Synapse

Wed, 08 Dec 2010

Engler, Part Deux! Rail Be Damned!

Filed under: Budget, Detroit, Government, Michigan, Passenger rail, Politics, Railroads, Transit, Travel — cynicalsynapse @ 10:07 pm

High speed rail

Michigan stands to lose out on $161 million in Federal high speed rail money because Michigan Senate leader Mike Bishop (R-Rochester Hills) did not allow the bill to come to a vote. Bishop’s cheap shot is almost as dispicable as former Gov. John Engler’s (R) last minute veto of regional transit for metro Detroit.

Bishop had said he’d allow the State Senate to vote on the measure already passed by the State House.

I don’t ask the state taxpayers to finance anything unless a business plan is presented that gives us some indication that it brings value.

Possible Woodward corridor transit

Apparently, anti-transit behavior is a Republican trait. Cece Grant, a native Detroiter and Michigan organizer for Transportation for America, summed it up this way.

The legislature failing to act is really putting us at a competitive disadvantage to the other states. It’s saying we’re stuck in the past.

There’s no way for your employees to get back and forth to work. We’re not a mobile society. We don’t have bustling thriving downtowns.

Amtrak train

I look at it another way. I don’t support the full body scanners or “enhanced” pat downs at airports. But at 5-1/2 to 6 hours for a train ride to Chicago, rail is not competitive. On the other hand, high speed rail, with travel times between Chicago and Detroit around 3 hours, is competitive with both air travel and driving.

Without transit, and without high speed rail, Detroit is neither attractive nor competitive. In fact, Detroit is no better off than Mogadishu.

Previously on high speed rail and transit:

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