Sunday, June 14, 2009

Not connecting dots

In 2002, the NY Times Magazine included John Tierney's "Amtrak Must Die". The writer had actually stepped on-board for a first-hand look. Today's NY Mag includes Jon Gernter's "Getting up to speed .. Last fall, Californians voted to approve the most expensive infrastructure project in the country's history. But how do you actually build a high-speed train that will take you from LA to SF in 2 hours and 40 minutes?"

Again, the writer actually rides the rails (LA-Sacramento) and again experiences a ridiculously (almost comically) inadequate ride. The TransSiberian could not be worse. LA to Sacramento "costs" $5 more than auto (the writer confuses price with cost), takes twice as long, and is completely inadequate.

But undaunted, the writer interviews bureaucrats, from the Governor on down, and buys into the idea that a ton of money can make a difference. How to fix a failing program? Spend (much) more. Heard that before. And the project "will instantly create thousands of jobs." The writer does not connect any dots, but ends on the politically correct upbeat note.