Gov't proposes rail-link boondoggle

While the British government is trying to offload their high-speed railway in an attempt to mitigate years of terribly bloated spending, here in Australia the government is not so cost-conscious.

The ALP has promised "up to $20 million for a feasibility study into a fast railway linking Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne" despite one study already putting the cost of this boondoggle somewhere in the region of $33 billion—$59 billion (gee, I wonder if this project would end up being under or over budget?)

The Age notes that "a high-speed rail trip between Sydney and Canberra would take less than two-and-a-half hours. That’s faster than travelling by plane, taking into account check-in and commuting to airports."

Excellent! I, too, am bothered by the number of hours politicians are forced to endure when travelling by air.

Let's not mention the fact that last year Greyhound Australia made an offer of free travel to all State and Federal MPs in an attempt to save taxpayers' money and to do their bit for the environment.

But of course no self-respecting politician would ever travel by bus.

No, what you want is to travel by high-speed rail. Now that's cool... Not to mention sustainable! 

On this latter point I must say I have to agree with Prime Minister Gillard. If this project were to go ahead it most certainly would be sustainable. Sustainable in that, no matter how much money it loses or how bad the service, it will be sustained.

Think Amtrak. You know, the government railway scheme that was promised to the American people as a money-making enterprise but instead loses money year-after-year, decade-after-decade? Over $25 billion has gone down that blackhole.

It is simply absurd to think that the ALP or the Liberal Party or any government could run such a service profitably (or safely). How much evidence do people need? One, two, three, four, five. Need I go on?

Heck, the NSW Government is so incompetent they can't even collect money for tickets properly. Perhaps they should have been paying closer attention to the Victorian Government. Their new ticketing system is—oh wait, that was a failure too.

Ultimately, the public has to recognise that there is a fundamental difference between government vs. private operation of business.

Think only governments can plan and fund large-scale rail projects? Think that individuals and firms operating in a free market would fail? Think again.