11th February 2013
To me, the greatest fun lies in imagining how snazzy downtown high-speed rail stations might reshape and revive the fortunes of cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis. Opponents of mass transit point out that such cities are built around the automobile, not mass transit, and thus lack the density needed to support a high-speed rail system. Proponents tend to agree—but note that cities can change. The federal government today spends more on highways in a single year than it does on Amtrak in 40. Hypothetically, a shift in transportation funding back to rail might spur a 21st-century boom in downtown redevelopment, much as the construction of the highway system spawned the suburbs in the post-World War II era.
Yeah, and maybe by then we’ll have our flying cars.
The reason why ‘progressives’ (statists, really) love trains and hate cars is that cars go from where you are to where you want to go, whereas trains go from where the statists think you ought to be to where they think you ought to want to go. Automobiles empower individual freedom, which is why statists hate them; trains are the fair-haired children of those who like density and central planning.