Off the Track
The governor has announced that Missouri will seek additional funding for high-speed rail. This is, in my opinion, a very poor choice. Even if you accept the argument that we should spend the available money because other states will do so if we don’t (an argument I don’t accept), building high-speed rail still commits Missouri to subsiding the long-term operating and maintenance costs.
Maybe you believe that high-speed rail will make money for Amtrak — in which case, I have a bridge over the Missouri River to sell you. Randal O’Toole has written extensively on this issue, particularly in a study about the implications of high-speed rail for Missouri published by the Show-Me Institute. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) had an earlier plan to pursue a much smaller amount of money, which would allow it to implement engineering-based improvements to the current Amtrak route. That was much better policy. It involved a (comparatively) reasonable amount of money to make direct improvements to an existing system. The new proposal to go full-bore for high-speed rail across Missouri is a decision that I believe the state will quickly and seriously regret.
Unless, of course, we don’t get the funding at all, which would be terrific.