Admittedly, my title is piggybacking off of Jeffery’s post, “PBJ’s Train from Harrah’s to Tigerland.“
Earlier this month, I posted about the need to connect New Orleans to Baton Rouge via commuter rail and questioned the inertia behind the proposal, which, during the aftermath of Katrina, we were told would take a matter of months to complete, not a matter of years.
Well, thanks in large part to the wretched stimulus bill that our Governor derided on national television on Tuesday, Louisiana could finally be getting this important connection.
Louisiana’s transportation department plans to request federal dollars for a New Orleans to Baton Rouge passenger rail service…
YES! It’s about time!
…from the same pot of railroad money in the president’s economic stimulus package that Gov. Bobby Jindal criticized as unnecessary pork on national television Tuesday night.
Oh. Well, that’s unfortunate.
A aide in Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office said the state also has passenger rail connections from New Orleans to Houston and Meridian, Miss., on the drawing boards, but the Baton Rouge line is the most realistic at this time.
The federal stimulus bill does not specifically mention a rail line connecting Las Vegas to Anaheim, Calif., because any potential recipient of the money must file a grant proposal. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, was instrumental in boosting the amount of money for the rail projects in the stimulus bill. He has said he intends to tap that money for a rail line from Las Vegas to Anaheim, where Disneyland is located.
Asked for comment Friday about the Jindal stance on the federal rail money, the governor’s Chief of Staff Timmy Teepell said he does not think the Las Vegas to Anaheim line is a good use of taxpayer money. He did not address the Louisiana proposal.
He calls himself a “Road Scholar,” after all. (He didn’t graduate from college; instead, he learned everything he knows while hitchhiking across the nation, which, as everyone knows, is the ideal resume for a Governor’s Chief of Staff).
Either way, instead of admitting that the New Orleans to Baton Rouge line is a worthy and needed project, Teepell could only rehash the straw man argument of a meg-lev train from Vegas to Disneyland.
Good luck with the grant application, guys.
There’s nothing quite like inventing a line of attack against a worthy endeavor and then, days later, announcing that you want money for your own train too.
I am sure the good people of Louisiana will understand when we lose out on grant monies for infrastructure projects because our 37-year-old Governor is running for President (after only a year on the job).