Silly old Bob Brown thinks modern Australia could conceivably build a new rail link, just because it’s a good idea:
The Greens have renewed their push for a high-speed rail link between Sydney and Melbourne. They are calling on the Federal Government to fund a 12-month, $10-million study to work out the best route.
Greens Leader Bob Brown said a rail link would reduce transport emissions and congestion.
Bob, modern Australia doesn’t build railways. We don’t care that on busy routes they’re better in every way than the alternatives. Instead, we build freeways that clog up with cars and add pollution, regular accidents involving serious injury and worse, dependence on oil, and a whole host of other problems. We encourage freight to travel by road instead of rail so that the Hume Highway can be a death trap of amphetamine-propelled trucks. It’s more exciting that way.
Our ancestors may have had the magical power of railway building, but they were smarter people than we are. We don’t know how they managed to line rails of iron across the country with primitive technology – if the evidence weren’t all around us, no-one would believe it. Because it’s completely beyond modern Australia. We don’t build infrastructure any more, unless it’s being given to some private consortium that will gouge ordinary people for the next thirty years or so. In the short term – and that’s the only way we think – airlines will be able to undercut the slightly slower rail network. When the price of aviation fuel rises and air travel becomes increasingly unaffordable, then there’ll be a sudden huge global demand for railway-related resources – and THEN, when those prices are highest, THEN we might get around to eventually building something at vast inflated expense that we’ll then pass on to the public. But that “we” is not us – that’ll be our successors. So it’s not our problem.
Honestly, what is with the Greens and planning necessary infrastructure for our future? Don’t they get how politics works?
UPDATE: Of course, sarcasm aside, we do occasionally build railways – when heavy industry demands it, for example – it’s just that we’re terrible at doing it for actual travellers, where it would compete with the roads lobby and the airlines. (Still, at least heavy industry is prepared to let travellers subsidise their railways once they’ve got them built.)