The Obama administration has made high-speed rail a priority of its plan to revolutionize the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Unfortunately, New York has not seen much federal money yet—the first $8 billion went primarily to the South and West.
Now that Amtrak has unveiled its official plans for true high-speed rail, sticker shock is setting in: The price tag comes to $117 billion, some 15 times what the federal government spent on high-speed rail during last year’s stimulus. And that doesn’t include any spending on the rest of the country’s burgeoning network.
Second Avenue Sagas wonders whether we’ll really be zipping from Boston to Wilmington at the brisk 220 miles per hour planned by 2040, given how expensive this new fangled system is. It’s a fair point, but what has the Real Estate Desk more worried is Amtrak’s, uh, track record.
Consider the Acela. It was originally expected to cost $611 million—but the final tab was thrice that cost, more like $1.8 billion. Nevertheless, the trains generally putter along at speeds well short of their promised 150 miles per hour. This is due in large part to being stuck on outmoded tracks, which, of course, the plan for a new high-speed rail system is meant to address. All aboard?