This is an article, below, I couldn't resist posting. I could have written it myself, only not as well, of course. I don't belong to this group, Citizens Against Government Waste, although now that I've learned of its existence, joining is very tempting.
To be fair, I support Congressman Nadler in many of his positions. Yes, he's a liberal Democrat. So am I. However, I completely agree with this organization, CAGW, that the support of high-speed rail is support of government pork, and have said so on this blog many times. Although Nadler seeking $117 million over the next 30 years is peanuts, the real costs of HSR, if it does get fully funded, will be well over one trillion dollars to build out all the corridors identified by the FRA.
If the CAGW is intent on putting the spotlight on HSR as a prime example of pork, there are far more egregious "porkers" than Nadler that should be identified, Secretary Ray LaHood among them. It was the new mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, who, as former Chief of Staff for Obama, put the $8 billion into the ARRA legislation at the last minute.
James Oberstar, a former Congressman, had been promoting $50 billion as a working number for high-speed rail. And, now our President's budget contains $53 billion for HSR over six years in the authorizing Transportation budget language. Fortunately, a debate about such waste is in the works.
Indeed, the promotion of HSR can be called nothing other than pork-barrel politics. The funding that has been awarded to the various states by the DOT as part of the ARRA Stimulus $8 billion is demonstrably earmarked political pay-off; that is, pork.
This article was posted in Business Wire, a member of the Berkshire Hathaway Company.
February 23, 2011 02:53 PM Eastern Time
CAGW Names Rep. Jerrold Nadler Porker of the Month
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today named Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) February Porker of the Month for his continued insistence on wasting tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on federal high-speed rail (HSR) projects. On January 27, 2011, Rep. Nadler called for $117 billion in federal funding for HSR over the next 30 years. If history is any guide, total costs will be dramatically higher.
“CAGW has long opposed federal funding for HSR. Government-subsidized high-speed rail was a ludicrous idea when $8 billion was included for it in the stimulus package; it is an even more asinine idea now that the debt has skyrocketed to more than $14 trillion”
Rep. Nadler has claimed that federal spending on HSR will “generate an operating surplus of $900 million per year,” which is unlikely. Amtrak was supposed to earn a profit when it was purchased by the government in 1971, but it has required $37 billion in subsidies since then. Taxpayers understand that if the government can’t turn a profit on lower-cost, low-speed rail, it will never earn a dime on higher-cost, high speed rail. According to a March 2009 Government Accountability Office report, HSR will cost between $22 million to $132 million per mile.
HSR has also been billed as a method to reduce carbon emissions and road congestion. But most traffic jams are caused by commuters, not inter-city travelers, and recent studies have shown that the carbon benefits of HSR are much smaller than typically advertised, especially if ridership is lower than expected. Despite these drawbacks, the Obama administration proposed an additional $53 billion over six years for HSR in the fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget, an initiative that Rep. Nadler supports.
“CAGW has long opposed federal funding for HSR. Government-subsidized high-speed rail was a ludicrous idea when $8 billion was included for it in the stimulus package; it is an even more asinine idea now that the debt has skyrocketed to more than $14 trillion,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “HSR is a prime example of government ‘investment’ that should be identified for what it is: more pork and wasteful spending that will misuse scarce capital resources and expand the nation’s massive deficit and national debt. A majority of the House of Representatives showed they agree with CAGW on this issue when they passed the Full-Year Continuing Resolution for FY 2011 that zeroed out funding for HSR.”
For continuing to peddle his fatuous claptrap about HSR and pushing taxpayers to throw good money after bad on extravagant choo-choo trains, CAGW names Rep. Jerrold Nadler its February 2011 Porker of the Month.
CAGW’s Porker of the Month can also be viewed on video, which is co-produced with reason.tv, the video website of Reason Magazine. CAGW’s Porker of the Month is available on both CAGW’s homepage and at reason.tv.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.
Citizens Against Government Waste
Leslie K. Paige, 202-467-5334
Luke Gelber, 202-467-5305