January 3, 2012


For High-Speed Rail, Support in the Past From G.O.P. Presidential Hopefuls (MICHAEL COOPER, 1/02/12, NY Times)

Newt Gingrich, a former speaker of the House, has written books and given speeches about the importance of high-speed rail in the United States, and he supported a study for a high-speed line from Atlanta to Chattanooga, Tenn., sought by local boosters when he was in Congress. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas saw a role for high-speed rail in his failed $175 billion transportation plan to build what would have been called the Trans-Texas Corridor.

Even Representative Ron Paul of Texas, a small-government libertarian, signed a letter that several members of Texas' Congressional delegation sent to federal officials in 2009 urging them to give the state money for rail studies to help it build "a truly ambitious and world-class high-speed rail network."

But Mr. Gingrich may be the most outspoken Republican presidential candidate when it comes to his support of high-speed rail. He has spoken and written admiringly of China and France, and how far ahead of the United States they were when it comes to high-speed rail. He has opined that high-speed train lines would make sense in Florida and California -- places the Obama administration sought to build them -- and in the Northeast, among other places. And he has spoken of a role for government to help build a national rail network.

"If you want to be the most competitive country in the world in 2040 or 2050, you have to think large," Mr. Gingrich said in 2009 at a videotaped forum sponsored by the National Governors Association and Building America's Future, an infrastructure advocacy group. Mr. Gingrich's large thought was for America to build high-speed magnetic levitation trains, as China has.

"Let's go ahead and be really bold, and go head to head with the Chinese in developing and implementing maglev trains that move at 280, 300, 320 miles an hour," Mr. Gingrich said in his speech, which Streetsblog.org, a transportation Web site, wrote about recently. "And you suddenly change all sorts of equations about how this country operates."

Pretending to oppose trains is like pretending to oppose open borders. It appeals to some on the Right, but it's anti-human.

Posted by at January 3, 2012 6:14 PM

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