Steve Clemons has a post about his envy of China's super fast MagLev train. I've been seeing a lot of these "boy-foreign-infrastructure-is-so-nice" posts around and, while I sympathize, it's worth wondering if the glitz of the MagLev is really the right model. What we need isn't the fastest monorail in the world, it's simply an affordable rail system. Consider instead subsidizing AMTRAK's Acela Express, which is prohibitively expensive for most people, but gets you from D.C. to NYC in just a few hours. And it's built on infrastructure we already have, and that people are already using. Not as impressive, but more useful. Gotta run before you can walk, or in this case, Acela before you can MagLev. Let's leave the grandstanding to Dubai.

--Tim Fernholz

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