High-Speed Fail

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

Harvard economist Edward Glaeser scrutinized high-speed rail and concluded that the benefits are overwhelmed by the costs. Washington Post writer Robert Samuelson added that high-speed rail works in Europe and Asia because of their higher population densities, but it won’t work in the United States. Cato’s Randal O’Toole goes one step further and says that high-speed rail doesn’t even work in Europe and Asia:

Japan and France have both spent about as much on high-speed rail as they have on their intercity freeway systems, yet the average residents of those countries travel by car 10 to 20 times as much as they travel by high-speed rail. They also fly domestically more than they take high-speed rail. While the highways and airlines pay for themselves out of gas taxes and other user fees, high-speed rail is heavily subsidized and serves only a tiny urban elite.

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