With everything on this weekend, a huge story got missed. I saw it on Twitter but forgot about it. Here we go:
With all the other horrible events of the weekend, China’s high speed rail crash sort of faded into the background. But the toll is horrific: 43 dead, and hundreds more injured after one high speed train ran into another. Critics are now arguing that this is the result of cut corners in the construction process:
China’s decision to build a $400 billion, 16,000 km high speed rail network in the space of a few years was initially greeted with awe at their committment to winning the future, and laments from the usual suspects that America could never do something this fantabulous. Then the network was forced to slow the average speed of its bullet trains down due to safety concerns; lower-than-projected ridership caused big deficits; and the head of the rail ministry was removed in a tawdry corruption scandal.
And now 43 people are dead. Yeah, it’s one accident. It’s one accident in only the fourth year of service. The system should be as good now as it’s going to be. What’s going to happen as it starts to fall apart?
Here’s a question for the floor: Think about the nitwits who have expressed admiration for China’s system, who have wished we were more like China, who have proclaimed China’s high-speed rail system the model for the hyper-expensive pork projects they want this country. Will any of them back down?
You don’t really have to answer that.