A lot of the debates we'll have over the next two years are going to sound like this:
OBAMA: I'd like to do something to help the economy.
GOP: Tax cuts? Because we were hoping to pass some tax cuts.
OBAMA: Well actually, I was thinking about a program to...
GOP: Hell no!
But in the meantime, it's nice to know there's still some money to spend on investments. The other day, the Department of Transportation announced a new round of grants for high-speed rail construction. Here are some highlights (via Popular Science):
- California received more than $901 million, including $715 million for the construction of new high-speed rail lines in the Central Valley. The state has made significant investments in passenger rail that have led to remarkable ridership growth;
- Florida received $800 million for the Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail corridor. The state's long-term vision is for a high-speed rail line that connects Tampa, Orlando, Miami, and other communities;
- Iowa received $230 million to create a new intercity passenger rail service between Iowa City and Chicago through the Quad Cities. When completed, the service will form an integral part of the existing efforts to develop the Chicago Hub intercity rail system in the Midwest; and
- Michigan received $161 million for a high-speed rail corridor connecting Detroit and Chicago, the two largest cities in the Midwest. The long-term vision for this corridor includes doubling the number of daily round trips between Detroit and Chicago.
This isn't new money -- it comes from the stimulus, and the existing transportation budget. But it's a reminder that even with all the yelling about limiting government, many of the good things government is doing will proceed as planned.
-- Paul Waldman