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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

25 Minutes to Rochester, 50 to Duluth??

Bullet Trains . . . in Minnesota

How can you compete with a country that is run like a company?

--Thomas L. Friedman, "Too Many Hamburgers?"; The New York Times (9/22/2010)

I suppose that depends on whether the country in question is run like Costco -- or Citigroup.

In fact, Friedman makes a number of trenchant juxtapositions between China's state-of-the-art infrastructure and the U.S.'s decaying one, starting with those bullet trains.

So, how long would it take to get from the Twin Cities to Rochester and Duluth if we had a couple of those babies?

Try, 25 minutes and 50 minutes, respectively.

A bullet train to Rochester would cement Minnesota's world reputation for all things medical, and turn the Twin Cities' airport into a gateway to the Mayo Clinic.

A bullet train to Duluth would make the North Shore a major tourist destination, and do wonders for that city's economy.


But wouldn't that cost billions?

And where would it come from?

Why not the same place Boston got $25 billion to bury 2 miles of waterfront freeway? (in a just-completed project called "The Big Dig").

And what convenient timing, given that we're supposedly looking for worthwhile infrastructure projects to stimulate the economy.

P.S.: Given the politics, a Twin Cities-Chicago bullet train is probably more realistic, because two more states' political delegations could help do the heavy lifting.

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