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Public Policy

Candidates Rail Against Rail

Ian Scott on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 11:48:11 am

Last week New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made national headlines by halting work on a commuter rail tunnel that would increase capacity between New Jersey and downtown Manhattan.  His rationale - state transportation officials project that the $8.7 billion project will run over costs by at least $2.5 billion, leaving New Jersey taxpayers on the hook.  $600 million has already been spent on the nation’s largest public transit project and the Federal Government and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey have each committed $3 billion to the project.  Click for more.

But Christie is not the only Republican politician railing against rail.

Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker has launched www.notrain.com to detail his opposition to a high speed rail line connecting Madison and Milwaukee.  The proposed line is funded by $810 million in stimulus dollars.  Ohio’s John Kasich is opposed to a $400 million stimulus project to link Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati by rail.  Florida gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott has raised questions about the $1.25 billion stimulus funded rail project to connect Orlando and Tampa.

In all cases, construction cost overruns and the ongoing cost of operation are major concerns.  There is also a sense that these rail projects are diverting badly needed funds from crumbling highway infrastructure.  Click for more.

What do you think about rail expansion plans?  Are they important projects that will reduce road congestion and spur investment?  Or are they costly boondoggles that will be underused?  Share your thoughts by leaving a comment…

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