The high-speed rail project on the Blue Line between Port Huron and Chicago could more accurately be called slow-speed rail after the announcement by Norfolk Southern that it will limit speeds along the route. The company said it will only pay for maintenance on the track to handle trains traveling between 25 and 60 miles per hour. Oh well, the so-called high-speed rail project funded by $200 million of federal subsidies was never very fast anyway, with the most optimistic predictions of cutting travel time between Pt. Huron and Chicago by only 30 minutes.
Norfolk Southern, which operates about 21,000 miles of railway in 22 states, says that someone else will have to pay the increased maintenance costs for higher speed trains. It turns out that someone else is the American taxpayer.
High-speed rail is another waste of the taxpayer’s money that will incur long-term operational and maintenance costs that Michigan can ill afford. No matter how tempting federal high-speed rail dollars are, Michigan leaders should display some political courage and just say no to wasting money on what turns out to be slow-speed rail.