Saturday, February 2, 2013


Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall
Editorialist, News With Views

September 13, 2010

The Honorable Chris Christie
Office of the Governor
PO Box 001
Trenton, NJ 8625

Dear Governor Christie:

A campaign issue has been handed to Republicans by Democrats.  It appeals to Independents and Tea Party voters without offending traditional Republicans.  A rare opportunity.

Following is a quote from a monologue done by a Rush Limbaugh Show guest host on Monday, August 31, 2010:

“The cost for this line – which is a little over 80 miles – is $810 million, paid for by the federal government. The leading Republican candidate for Governor in my state, Scott Walker, is running television ads saying he’ll kill the train if you elect him. Those ads are resonating across Wisconsin. He’s saying, ‘If you elect me, I’ll kill this pork they’re trying to give us’ – and he sees it as a winning political issue.

“First of all, he recognizes that our state of Wisconsin will be on the hook for operating costs for this train. He also realizes that those costs will have to be taken out of his own State budget and will mean less money for roads, less money for local busses.”

The federal government does not have the financial resources to implement promises made regarding high-speed rail – unless my great-grandchildren pay for it (even then it won’t be high-speed rail).  For over a year, I have been writing that what the present administration offers is rapid transit (but cost estimates are compatible with more costly high-speed rail construction).  See the articles at my blog.  As you know, the federal government has since 1995 had an offer from a private investor to build high-speed rail nationally.

On August 30, 2010, an article from President Obama’s hometown Chicago Tribune said this about the Administration’s promise of 110 mph rapid transit trains:

“Bullet trains routinely operate at 150 to 220 mph. It's the performance level Illinois should be shooting for,” said state Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Chicago, who is chairman of the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee.  (Democrats know it’s a scam.  MB)

“…Officials at Amtrak, which has minimal expertise in operating high-speed rail, don't see a problem topping out at only 110 mph. An infusion of billions of dollars in federal and state funding will mean better Amtrak service in the Midwest — just don't mistake it for true high-speed trains.

“The genuine article, service at up to 220 mph, is being planned in California and Florida. It exists to a lesser degree on Amtrak Acela Express trains that get up to 150 mph on small portions of the route between Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington.”

The full transcript from the Rush Limbaugh Show and the Chicago Tribune article can be found at my blog.  My notes from a radio interview I did with Chuck Wilder are there and answer many high-speed rail questions.  I hope you find it helpful.

President Obama’s announcements (about Florida, last February) made me ask:  How does a bullet train build to maximum speed (222 mph) when traveling to a destination only 75 miles away (Orlando-Tampa) – and still have time to slow down safely and stop?  The answer:  Such stops should be exceptions.  Yet, these short-stop routes are the very heart of the Obama Plan.  Ohio is scheduled to get $400 million for rail from Cincinnati to Cleveland.  In 1935, a steam engine pulling a train took 5+ hours to make the trip.  The new service takes more than an hour longer (I have the 1935 rail pamphlet).  It’s a four-hour drive.  It’s a 2 to 3 hour trip by high-speed rail (a clean air trip).  Ohio will be $17 million a year in the red if they accept these funds.  Pork barrel spending:  Americans are sick of it and that’s why Mr. Walker’s ads about high-speed rail resonate not just in Wisconsin, but with all of us.

President Obama’s short stops reveal his plan is rapid transit, not high-speed rail.  Real bullet trains would go through Florida at 222 mph, take the line down the state’s middle and use rapid transit to move people from an Orlando hub to Tampa (and elsewhere) while the bullet train regains max speed and goes on to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale.  The same is true of Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison-Detroit line.  This difference in strategies is easily seen on the two maps.

High-speed rail can create two million jobs if done nationally and in a coordinated manner.  All states need jobs.  America needs a high-speed rail system to catch up with Japan, China, France, and other nations, let alone compete.  America does not need a rapid transit system being sold to the people as (and at the cost of) high-speed rail.  This plan in no way equalizes American high-speed rail with the rest of the world. 

Rapid transit at high-speed rail costs is being constructed (as the Chicago Tribune article evidences). This issue resonates with Independents and Tea Party members without attacking the Republican base.   People are sick of pork barrel spending.  They are even sicker of political lies and deceit – whether it’s a Mosque in the wrong place or non-existent high-speed rail.  This issue resonates.   After listening to your video addressing the concerns of a school teacher about union issues and education costs, it is clear the people of New Jersey are well served by you.


Marilyn MacGruder Barnewall

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