Barack Obama reiterated his belief that the solution to high gas prices is more rail transit. At a lunch with a Beech Grove, Indiana couple (one of whom works for Amtrak, the other in a local hospital), the candidate had this to say:
The irony is with the gas prices what they are, we should be expanding rail service. One of the things I have been talking about for awhile is high speed rail connecting all of these Midwest cities—Indianapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis. They are not that far away from each other. Because of how big of a hassle airlines are now, there are a lot of people if they had the choice, it takes you just about as much time if you had high speed rail to go the airport, park, take your shoes off.
This is something that we should be talking about a lot more. We are going to be having a lot of conversations this summer about gas prices. And it is a perfect time to start talk about why we don’t have better rail service. We are the only advanced country in the world that doesn’t have high speed rail. We just don’t’ have it. And it works on the Northeast corridor. They would rather go from New York to Washington by train than they would by plane. It is a lot more reliable and it is a good way for us to start reducing how much gas we are using. It is a good story to tell.
Meanwhile, Thomas Friedman calls out Hillary and McCain’s shameful pandering on the gas tax:
It is great to see that we finally have some national unity on energy policy. Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer’s travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is
money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.
When the summer is over, we will have increased our debt to China, increased our transfer of wealth to Saudi Arabia and increased our contribution to global warming for our kids to inherit. The McCain-Clinton gas holiday proposal is a perfect example of what energy expert Peter Schwartz of Global Business Network describes as the true American energy policy today: “Maximize demand, minimize
supply and buy the rest from the people who hate us the most.”
Good for Barack Obama for resisting this shameful pandering.
Unfortunately, Friedman doesn’t follow Obama in endorsing the best solution to high gas prices: transit.