Extension of the existing Northeast Corridor high-speed rail south from Washington, DC to Richmond, Virginia and then onward into North Carolina is clearly something that would be beneficial to the state of Virginia. Virginia has experience a lot of economic growth in the past 15-20 years that’s mostly been driven by those portions of the state that fall within the orbit of the Washington, DC metro area. There have also been recent, and not especially successful, efforts to leverage the money generated by that growth into enhanced prosperity for other regions of the state. A better approach than much of what’s been done would be to expend funds on building better transportation links between the DC area and other population centers in the state.
That’s exactly what the HSR expansion plan would do, so it’s not surprising to see Rep Eric Cantor (R-VA) trying to hop on the bandwagon (or locomotive, as the case may be):
Yesterday, though, the Henrico County Republican said bringing high-speed rail to the region could further spur economic development, creating as many as 185,000 jobs and bringing $21.2 billion to a region already home to about a half-dozen Fortune 500 companies and 20,000 small businesses.
“If there is one thing that I think all of us here on both sides of the political aisle from all parts of the region agree with, it’s that we need to do all we can to promote jobs here in the Richmond area,” Cantor said.
But of course Cantor voted against the federal legislation that’s making increased HSR capacity possible. Indeed, on Meet The Press he specifically singled-out the HSR provisions for inaccurate, demagogic mockery, repeating the myth that the Recovery Act contained a provision for a “train from Disneyland to Las Vegas” that was an example of the “waste and pork-barrel spending” said to typify the package.
Back in his district, of course, Cantor wants to portray himself as an agent for constructive change in Virginia. But you can’t be a constructive agent for change if you’re busy lying constantly and opposing everything.