High-speed rail works when consumer demand meets supply: See New York-Washington corridor. It fails when neither applies: See upstate New York
A recent column quoted the late Edward Kennedy on early-1960s Washington: “The media was on our side.” It still is. As Charles Krauthammer says: “The mainstream media and (liberalism) are one and the same.” Consider each’s fixation with high-speed rail.
By spring 2009, business, labor and Rochester-area officials had OK’d a downtown bus terminal, new Monroe County College campus and possible 2,800-seat performing arts center. Renaissance Square would use $100 million in federal money, create 3,700 construction jobs and set groundbreaking for last fall.
At the 11th hour, western New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, through her surrogate, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, snatched defeat from RenSquare’s done-dealism. They demanded a multimodal facility, at a proposed non-downtown site, the current Amtrak station: each Democrat drunk on high-speed rail.
Their proposal made RenSquare miss D.C.’s fund deadline, blowing $100 million. Worse, Slaughter, like ObamaCare, then went forth to sell her 28th District what it doesn’t want: European-style rail, hyped by Louise’s politically correct, public transit-crazed base.
High-speed rail works when consumer demand meets supply: See New York-Washington corridor. It fails when neither applies: See upstate New York. Slaughter ignored this fact soliciting the president’s $8 billion high-speed kitty. Result? As Churchill termed Munich, “a total and unmitigated defeat” — for Louise and us.
Last month, Slaughter’s own U.S. Transportation Department announced the stimulus division. California’s $2.3 billion topped all 11 applicants. New York got $151 million — 1.8 percent — next to last. “Actually, we were last,” says upstate radio host Bill Nojay, “since the Boston-D.C. route was disqualified because of all the money it had already got.”
Like Obama, Slaughter brags: in her case, of clout. Louise’s clout bought $58 million — 0.7 percent of high-speed cash — for preliminary work on rural Genesee County’s Riga-to-Byron line: 11 miles of Buffalo-Albany’s cross-state 320-mile line. In effect, Slaughter knifed RenSquare — perhaps downtown Rochester’s last, best hope — to cut 3-4 minutes in passenger time. Her fantasy won’t add a passenger, sell a ticket or create a permanent job.
Slaughter says she’s “tickled pink.” Her own Transportation Secretary thinks Louise’s face should be embarrassed, red. “I think the money we gave New York,” says Ray LaHood, “reflects what we thought about the project.” Mae West sang “Place the Blame on Mame.” Few reporters blame this louse on Louise. Recently, LaHood spurned another $20 million local high-speed plan, seeing what the press won’t, being on Slaughter’s side.
A Rasmussen Poll says that most Democrats — 53 percent — “have a positive view of socialism”! Does Louise? If not, why does her voting record out-left socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders?
Amazingly, not once in Louise’s 24 years in Congress has a western New York paper, radio station, or TV outlet analyzed her record: as Britt Hume says, “the worst bias being bias you don’t know you have.” Some journalists try to be fair. Others don’t: masking, thus enabling.
Ex-CBSer Bernard Goldberg terms the media’s crush on Obama “a slobbering love affair.” The liberal affair thrives with Slaughter: covering up, not covering. Judy Collins sang “Both Sides Now.” High speed, any speed, much of the media sings one side only.
Curt Smith is the author of 13 books; former speechwriter to President George H.W. Bush; and host of WXXI Radio’s “Perspectives,” at 2 p.m. Saturday and 9 p.m. Tuesday. E-mail: email@example.com.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the newspaper.