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Letters to the editor – Tuesday (4-12-2011)

High-speed rail a fast way to waste more tax dollars
I recently read an article (Salisbury Post) about a well-respected (British) architect who lives in Charlotte. He had just spoken at Catawba College, explaining the virtues of environmentally-friendly community planning. His concerns for America are best summed up by quoting directly from the article:
ěHe said he is baffled by opposition to high-speed rail by the Americans Ö Spain, which has suffered major economic woes, is investing $193 billion to create the best high-speed rail system in Europe. The British are in agreement that dealing with climate change is the only way to get out of the recession Öî
This all sounds exciting, but around the same time of his speech, Spainís credit rating dropped (again). Each time Spainís credit-rating drops, their interest rate goes up, meaning even less money is available for their social programs.
Spain was considered the green leader in Europe and a model for our own green initiative. Yet a study conducted in Madrid, at the King Juan Carlos University (April 2009), found that for each ěgreenî job created, more than two jobs were lost. The report also pointed out that each ěgreen jobî had cost the government $774,000. This report was ridiculed by liberal news organizations. The Huffington Post disputed this report and claimed Spainís green incentives create ěmillions more jobs than does investment in traditional energy.î Yet this year Huffington Post reports Spainís ějobless rate surged to a 13-year record, above 20 percent at the end of 2010, the highest level in the industrialized world.î
If rising unemployment numbers and taking even more money out of our budget doesnít turn you against high-speed rail, consider this: $6-a-gallon gas is part of the European incentive to encourage ridership.
We already have one government rail system, the National Railroad Passenger Corp. (Amtrak). According to a recent GAO report, Amtrak loses approximately $1.5 billion annually (including 2009, when it received an additional $1.3 billion stimulus check). High-speed rail would merely be a high-speed money pit.
ó Steve Pender
Rockwell

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