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Editorial: All aboard high speed rail

(The following editorial appeared on the Philadelphia Inquirer website on May 12, 2011.)

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Philadelphians and other Northeast Corridor rail commuters may want to thank the tea-party movement for a speedier trip to New York.

Amtrak announced this week that it will receive a $450 million share of $2 billion in federal transportation money, and will use it to make improvements to tracks and signals in New Jersey.

That work will allow Acela trains to run at top speeds of up to 160 m.p.h. and cut about 10 minutes off of the current 65-minute ride between the two cities.

The money had initially been awarded to Florida for construction of a high-speed line between Tampa and Orlando, but the state's new tea-party-backed governor, Rick Scott, rejected the money.

Two other new Republican governors, Wisconsin's Scott Walker and John Kasich of Ohio, made similar moves, passing up projects that would give their commuters a faster ticket to ride. But after Florida dropped out, Walker asked for $150 million for the Milwaukee-Chicago corridor.

But their loss is our gain.

Perhaps tea partyers should place themselves on a list similar to the "Do Not Ride" antiterrorism list that Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has been talking about - to keep from unwittingly riding a train that benefited from all that dirty federal cash.

Full column: Philadelphia Inquirer

Friday, May 13, 2011

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