Just in time to influence the November election, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has granted $2.5 billion for high-speed rail to several states, including California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan. Underscoring the political nature of the grants, the announcements were not made by the Federal Railroad Administration, which doesn’t mention them on its web site.
Instead, LaHood phoned major politicians (all Democrats), who then announced the grants to the media. A formal announcement is expected on Thursday. Until then, announcements indicate that:
■California received $902 million
■Florida $808 million.
■Iowa and Illinois received $230 million for a conventional-speed Amtrak line between Iowa City and Chicago.
■Michigan received $150 million for a high-speed rail line on the vital Dearborn-to-Kalamazoo corridor.
■Connecticut received $121 million to improve rail speeds between New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield, MA.
■Virginia received $45 million to plan a high-speed rail line from Washington to Richmond.
■Minnesota received $40 million to renovate the St. Paul Union Depot.
■New York received $18 million for rail upgrades in the Syracuse area.
California (where Meg Whitman may well upset Jerry Brown for governor) got almost $1 trillion for high-speed rail and New York (which everyone expects to be ruled by Democrat Cuomo after 11/2) got a lousy $18 million for some lousy upgrades in Syracuse. Hey, we've got pie-in-the-sky high speed rail dreams, too!
New York Democrats are craven. I wish you guys would just pretend -- just once in a while -- to be unhappy with your party. Maybe we'd get some real pork then.