Last week, Secretary of Immobility Ray LaHood designated the Boston-to-Washington corridor as an eleventh high-speed rail corridor. This makes Amtrak eligible for some of the $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds released when Florida rejected federal funds for the Tampa-Orlando route.
Of course, $2.4 billion won’t even scratch the surface of Amtrak’s $117 billion plan to speed up trains in the Northeast Corridor. But Amtrak would probably use the funds to smooth a curve or two, improve stations, or buy another couple of trainsets.
The Boston-to-Washington corridor already has the fastest trains in America, with an average speed of 81 mph between New York and Washington (but a paltry average speed of just 64 mph between Boston and New York). Since the whole point of Obama’s plan was to bring such fast trains to other parts of the country, why is the administration now inviting Amtrak and states in the Northeast Corridor to apply for rail funds?