I've been talking to my friends in Wisconsin recently about the insane plan of the Republican candidate to stop their biggest high speed rail project. Seems a lot of other folks are equally off base. Well, I STILL say the same thing I've been saying for years now. A top priority, one to be getting funds right now, should be buying up land to get wider rights of way. It's not glamorous. It's not high tech. But the longer anybody waits the less practical doing it becomes. Among other things, the more land governments buy, or even back the purchase of by companies like Union Pacific, the more leverage they have later.
Technology improves. Is doing so faster and faster. Switches and communications systems can get built as opportunities come up and even, in most cases, be used before the whole shebang is in place. But land is getting scarcer compared to population all the time. And we could use those rights of way for all sorts of other things once they're there, even before and without their being contiguous or complete.
We're in a depression. Everybody's broke. Including farmers and other owners of land. Even including lawyers and bookkeepers and records clerks to work out ways to divide lots to allow sale of ten foot wide strips and to rework the deeds to make this viable. The governments have cash in their hands. They should come up with every excuse they can to use at least some of that stimulus money to make our rail rights of way spacious and flat.
Is this the most effective short term way to maximize jobs? No. Is this what's best for those states and our country in even the next ten years, let alone the longer term? I think so.