Thursday, January 19, 2012
1,000,000 people standing Shoulder-to-Shoulder
The average adult has a shoulder width of 19 inches. One million people standing shoulder-to-shoulder would make a line stretching for over 300 miles. Here is a 300 mile path stretching along what could eventually have been a high-speed passenger rail line between Chicago and St. Paul, with a stop in Madison, had the Governor not pandered to the Tea Party and rejected the Federal grant to help develop the line.
If you want to go to Minneapolis from Madison and back for business or just a weekend of fun, you have a few options, including: (a) Drive for 10 hours, costing $100 and park for $20-30 per day. (b) Ride Megabus for $57.00 round-trip and spend 11 hours in double-decker bus. (c) Book a flight through Expedia for $458 and to get the lowest possible fare route your trip from Madison to Philadelphia and on to Minneapolis, over an entire day of travel. High speed rail would have conveyed you to Minneapolis in three hours in the beginning, and in an hour and a half eventually.
To go from Eau Claire to Milwaukee and back by plane, you have to fly to Chicago first, with round trip fares starting at $302, and travel time of four hours.
Madison to Chicago and back by plane? Plan to shell out $480 for a non-stop flight. If you want a cheaper fare, you can go via Denver or Detroit and Louisville.
The Acela Line between Boston and Washington operates at a profit even though its 150 mile per hour trains only average about 75 to 80 MPH.
I have previously posted about the huge cost to the state of Wisconsin taxpayers of now paying $210,000,000 for upgrading the Hiawatha passenger rail line because the Governor rejected the federal stimulus grant of $810,000,000 for high speed rail service from Milwaukee to Madison that included much of the money required for the Hiawatha upgrade. It isn't like the Governor saved the public fisc the $810,000,000. All that money that could have helped create a more vibrant economic corridor between Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago, and eventually on to the Twin Cities, went to California, Illinois, Michigan and numerous other states. So, it just served to make us even more of a federal tax dollar donor state.
Wouldn't it be nice if Governor Walker would provide the public with the written economic analysis on which he based his rejection of the $810,000,000 in federal funds for rail initiatives back in December 2010? Hopefully the state media will ask for this analysis in the forthcoming recall campaign.