By Mike Thayer
Once again, we're seeing the pushers of passenger rail trying to get their fix of 'Emotive Joy.'Liberal-minded people - right brain thinkers - make decisions based in emotion. Advocating for passenger rail are people like Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce President Nancy Quellhorst, State Representative Dave Jacoby and Congressman Dave Loebsack. All liberals, all 'Emotive Joy' short-term thinkers.
These people are 'taking action' on a perceived problem, not a real one. They base their decisions on feeling good, not the stated greater good. It's not about the greater good because what these people propose doesn't actually fix anything. This isn't about problem solving, it's about a feel good moment.
The perceived problem is that we need mass transit, providing access to Chicago to more people, to reduce roadway traffic, to be more green, to provide jobs, to lighten the transportation burden on the state.
Passenger rail will do virtually none of that. People like Nancy Quellhorst, Dave Jacoby and Dave Loebsack don't care about reason or logic though. All they care about is getting their 'Emotive Joy' fix, that sense of feeling good about an issue be it real or in this case, falsely conceived.
Passenger rail doesn't reduce problems facing Iowa's transportation system, it compounds them. The state can't properly maintain roads and bridges now as it is. Passenger rail creates a bigger problem. Despite this reality, Quellhorst, Jacoby and Loebsack insist on an 'Emotive Joy' response to a preceived problem, not a real problem.
Passenger rail doesn't reduce state taxpayer spending on transportation, it increases it. This adds more operational, maintenance and administrative costs to the state budget, the money spent on highways, roads and bridges will not be reduced. "So what!" says Quellhorst, Jacoby and Loebsack.
Passenger rail does not reduce green house gas, it increases it. Period. It's true, people will still drive cars, buses, fly planes. Their use won't be reduced.
Passenger rail does not reduce strains on the state budget, it creates more strain. More money will have to be put into transportation, that means fewer dollars for other areas of need or raising taxes again on people who can't afford it, supposedly the very people Quellhorst, Jacoby and Loebsack are pretending to help.
Passenger rail, while forecast to provide some construction jobs and train jobs in the short term, come at a very high price long term. It becomes an annual operational loss, there is no real gain.
All those things ADD to existing problems, they do not reduce or eliminate.
It has not been demonstrated that there is actually a true need for passenger rail. Those pushing for passenger rail, are feeding the public misinformation and omitting things. The ridership numbers have been inflated, the construction costs have been lowballed, the jobs created number is rosy and the detailed operational figures aren't being offered up for debate.
There is no real problem here. People already get to Chicago, Omaha and all points in between. There are no people unable to get to these destinations. People travel to these destinations without issue, be it in their personal vehicle, company vehicle, friends vehicle, carpool arrangement, plane or bus. Passenger rail won't change that.
For Nancy Quellhorst, Dave Jacoby and Dave Loebsack, passenger rail is about "Isn't this great?" It's about feeling good, not about solving a real problem. Passenger rail, gives them 'Emotive Joy.'
How is that a solution to anything?