On the general subject of expensive infrastructure projects, I don’t know anything about the details, but Rick Perry’s now-abandoned program for a Trans-Texas Corridor sounds pretty amazing:
As originally conceived by Ric Williamson, and enthusiastically supported by Perry, the Corridor was a series of toll roads, each with a footprint a quarter of a mile wide, condemning millions of acres of pristine countryside, that would be built and controlled by Cintra, a foreign corporation. The right-of-way would include power lines, pipelines, and high-speed rail lines.
The plan was ultimately defeated out of a mixture of environmental concerns, anti-foreigner paranoia, property rights activism, and cost worries. For all I know, it was a terrible idea. And apparently the thinking out of Texas is that Perry is going to flip-flop away from his previous support for it, rather than seem to be echoing President Obama on the desirability of infrastructure investment. What’s more, my understanding of the current state of discourse in America is that only hard-core socialists support trains. But doomed mega-projects are at least fun to think about.