What is Tyler Cowen’s preferred answer to the question of how we should move 400-odd million Americans around?
I respect Mr Cowen very much, but I think it’s long past time we stopped listening to libertarians on the issue of whether or not to build high-speed rail. Who will ask whether road construction remotely passes any of the tests they’re so prepared to push on rail? And if we begin charging an appropriate fee on drivers to maintain existing roads and reduce congestion, what do they all think will happen to land use patterns and transportation mode share?
Consider: the Texas DOT determined that gas tax revenues came nowhere close to covering life-cycle road costs, and that for a typical road to cover its costs of maintenance and construction the gas tax might need to approach $2 per gallon. Now, what does Europe’s experience suggest about the viability of transit and rail in places where gas taxes approach that level?
It really is quite bizarre how these people react to the notion of improving rail service.