EDITORíS DESK: Cool ride! And we pay for it how?
The meeting on high-speed rail this week was intriguing. Imagine zooming up and down the Front Range without fear of traffic jams. Once the state and its consultants solve the questions regarding routes, stops and rights of way, then we'll get to face the really big question. And that is how we'll pay for the doggone
thing. At present, taxpayers subsidize air travel, highways and buses. But the last time I looked, none of those transportation modes was crowing about a greenback excess. Air travelers no longer get in-flight meals and often pay for baggage. In Colorado Springs, some major road projects (such as Cimarron/I-25)
have been waiting 10 years or more with no end in sight, and as for buses, with all the cutbacks to Mountain Metro, just try and make a habit of getting around town that way.
So what happens when a snappy new plan for Front Range high-speed rail emerges from the ICS study in a year or so? According to the state's project manager for the study, even with every effort to make the service economically sound and attractive to passengers, roughly half its costs will still need to be federally subsidized. Anyone see a pile of extra government money? (That is, anyone other than those dreamers who think that dialing up the tax percentage on rich people will magically provide piles of cash for cool stuff like this. Sorry. It won't.) What it looks like from here is that some hard decisions will have to be made. Maybe we could wait another 10 years on Cimarron/I-25? Just asking.