Friday, August 21, 2009

Call it stimulus

Ed Glaeser has published some posts that describe a sensible cost-benefit analysis of a high-speed rail line between Dallas and Houston. He finds that it is likely to be hugely cost-ineffective. I am not surprised, but I am also convinced that findings like this do not matter. There is a political coalition behind these planning-disasters-to-be and that's all that matters. Baptists and bootlegers.

In his most recent post, Glaeser looks for evidence that there would, nevertheless, be land use impacts. He concludes that these are unlikely.

If patronage on the HSR is low, how can there be any ancillary impacts? Would non-riders gravitate to stations they do not use? Not in non-negligible numbers. But if they did, planners would have invented the costliest land use policy ever.

But costs don't matter. Call it stimulus.