Wednesday, November 10, 2010

High Speed Fail

Ohio Governor-elect, John Kasich, derailed (for now) the Three C High-speed rail project. Maybe he has determined that an average speed of 41mph doesn’t necessarily meet the criterion for the “high-speed” designation. Perhaps he was swayed by the realization that massive amounts of funds would be necessary to construct the infrastructure for the rail system while Ohio’s ground transportation network is crumbling. It’s possible that he was concerned about the dislocation and eminent domain issues that would precede the building of the rail, though I doubt it. Individual rights and property are generally trampled for “the greater good.”

Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood (RINO-Illinois) notified Mr. Kasich that the $400 million in stimulus funds that were set aside to begin the rail project would be forfeited if not used for the high-speed boondoggle. In case you may have forgotten, that $400 million is: 1) our money; 2) our borrowed money and future debt; and 3) not President Obama’s nor Ray Lahood’s private stash for their pet social engineering projects. Kasich had asked for permission to divert the funds for other uses. Aside from the blatantly irresponsible action of seeking additional borrowed funds for any purpose, Kasich’s stand contains the nucleus of principle. States have the Constitutional right to determine what is best for their citizens. Big Nanny be damned.

Back to the fast train fiasco. The average subsidy for EVERY Amtrak passenger is $32…yes, every time someone purchases a ticket and ascends the steps to the passenger car, the taxpayers’ cash register rings up another thirty-two bucks. So, who in her or his right mind believes that the Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati FORTY-MPH EXPRESS would be more efficient? Even if it were as cost-effective as Amtrak, why should the taxpayers of Ohio be saddled with the bill for a relatively few riders? Why should Youngstown and Toledo residents underwrite ease and convenience for people in other jurisdictions? Why should the good people of St. Henry, Tiffin, Caldwell and Gallipolis bear the burden of propping up a certain loser? Besides, 41 mph does not suggest a “bullet train.” It is more reminiscent of a “stop action” bullet in a “Matrix” film. Hell, there are Kenyan distance runners who could outpace that thing.

OK, in the interest of proving for the public good and welfare, I shall prose some remedies for enhancing the feasibility of High-Speed Rail in Ohio. Because our fearless and clueless leaders are trying to establish the Buckeye as a leader in the alternative energy field, I submit that we should merge the two fiascos to arrive at a singular solution for all of our economic woes in Ohio. Let’s examine ways to propel the train using renewable energy resources.

Each engine on the train could have a windmill attached to its top (sorta like a beanie propeller). The faster the train would travel the more energy that would be generated. If we could reach “warp” speed, we might generate enough power to export to other states that are burdened with huge gas and oil reserves that the EPA will not allow them to tap. Our greatest concern would be that the train could conceivably become airborne if it exceeded the recommended ground speed. A flying train with a couple of dozen subsidized passengers could result in a tragedy of immense proportions.

Perhaps solar panels would provide an efficient energy system for running the train. Nighttime runs might have to be severely curtailed, and air conditioning requirements on the train may have to be ramped up, but the solar option could be very feasible on those 5 or 6 totally sunny days that we enjoy here in the Great Lakes region. In addition, every hail storm would create new jobs as we replace the damaged panels.

My favorite option involves the use of methane. Each train could be equipped with a methane converter. Farmers along the High-Speed corridor could pile their animal waste along the tracks. As the train speeds by, a waste collector would scoop up the excrement, capture the methane and convert it to energy. My greatest concern is that if the farmers were to stack too much material along the tracks, then our High-Speed Wonder train could arrive at its destination … full of crap. So, for now, we’ve avoided the Boo-Hoo Choo-Choo .

Comments welcome:

1 comment:

  1. Beanie propeller ... hahaha! Funny, but your points are dead on.