It is well documented that Governor Culver has increased state spending dramatically since taking office in 2007. He has passed the two largest budgets in our state’s history, and he has done so in consecutive years despite falling revenues. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he borrowed $765 million for government projects, which will cost the taxpayers of Iowa $1.6 billion over the next 20 years. It’s likely that Governor Culver will be out of office, and Iowans will still be paying off the debt from his time as governor.
So, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when Governor Chet Culver says that spending $120 to $125 million to link Chicago to Des Moines by rail is, “Not a huge cost. It’s fairly modest, really.” Culver made those comments in Davenport yesterday as he signed legislation that will use state money to leverage federal funds for rail development.
Most of you know that I’m not a fan of spending money on passenger rail initiatives. I think passenger train travel is a thing of the past. It is 333 miles from the State Capitol in Iowa to the Sears Tower in Chicago. It would cost me $40 in gas to make that trip in the comfort of my own automobile. I can take as many people with me that will fit in my vehicle. Google Maps tells me that the trip will take 5 hours.
The other option would be for me to take Amtrak, the government funded rail service, from Osceola to Chicago. One ticket, one way will cost me $66. It will take Amtrak 7 hours and 10 minutes to get me to Chicago. Once in Chicago I would still need to make my way to the Sears Tower.
Democrats like President Obama and Governor Culver believe that people are clamoring for train travel. We are not. The automobile remains the greatest invention of our time because it has allowed us more freedom and less reliance on government.
I don’t want to travel in some train car with a loud and obnoxious adult or kid making it hell for me. Heck, I don’t like flying because it’s inevitable that the person sitting next to either smells, wants to talk to me, or drinks tomato juice. Why do so many people drink tomato juice when they fly? The smell of that crap makes me sick to my stomach. It’s one think if there is a shot of vodka, a piece of celery and shrimp involved, or a beer if you are from my part of the woods, but straight tomato juice?
Sorry about that, but you get the point. Americans value freedom. We want to set our own schedules, travel with as few or as many people as we wish, and travel in a vehicle that is our own.
Unless modern train travel is going to be cheaper and faster than traveling by car, I don’t see this as a good investment of taxpayer dollars. I know that President Obama wants us to sacrifice, but the one think I’m not willing to give up is my freedom.
You would think that the leader of the FREE world and the CEO of two American auto manufacturers would understand that. As for Governor Culver, he needs to understand that the taxpayers in Iowa can’t afford $120-$125 million more for rail service that the majority of us will never use.
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