With newly elected GOP governors in Wisconsin (Scott Walker) and Ohio (John Kasich), Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (he was a Republican once too, you know) announced this week that he would take federal funds dedicated to those states for high-speed rail and send them elsewhere. WFAE reported LaHood's remarks to politicos and business-folk in Charlotte, NC:
"There are a couple of governors-elect that have said they don't know if they can afford to be in the high-speed rail business, and the reason I mention that is we are going to be reallocating money from Ohio and Wisconsin," LaHood said. LaHood made no promises, but says North Carolina is in a good position to get a share of the money because the state (and Democrat Gov. Beverly Perdue) appears committed to high-speed rail.
Nice of WFAE to post Kasich's letter to President Obama, which said:
I am writing to inform you that I upon taking office as Governor of Ohio...I will terminate work on Ohio's passenger rail project.... Further, I have asked Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland to immediately terminate all contracts related to Ohio's passenger rail project which received $400 million in federal funding through the High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Program.
Passenger rail is not Ohio's most pressing infrastructure concern at this time. Instead, Ohio's existing freight rail and highway transportation infrastructure has significant upgrades needs. Therefore, I request that you make provisions for the $400 million to be used to support other vital transportation infrastructure projects in Ohio.
In the event that you cannot accede to my request, I ask that you take no actions to spend the funds allocated to Ohio so that these funds can go toward reducing the federal government's $1.4 trillion deficit.
Jeff Taylor of The Meck Deck spotted the story, and wrote:
Of course our mentally deficient "leaders" took this as good news for North Carolina's rail fantasy rather than wondering why those states are saying thanks but no thanks. No thanks when it comes to a black hole which does nothing to improve actual transportation in their states, states that just happen to have roads and bridges falling apart....
LaHood came to [Charlotte] to say the federal government will punish critical thinking and reward short-term sheep - and the Uptown crowd stood and cheered.
Like when Chris Christie said "thanks but no thanks" to that train tunnel from Jersey to New York. Let's hope this trend picks up more steam.
Meanwhile, watch LaHood sing the praises of President Obama's and Vice President Biden's "vision" for "investment" of other peoples' money in trains: