Thursday, April 5, 2012

There will still be TSA agents for bullet trains

Judging from the comments to this story, many people seem to think there won't be:

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee pressing for bullet train between Houston and Dallas, Stewart Powell, Chron.com From the comments:
As dirty as I feel for saying this, maybe this isn't such a horrible idea. Providing bidding for contracts is fair, and that the costs of building it does not make it unaffordable for ORDINARY citizens to use. Not to mention, I don't want to deal with getting molested in line by a bored, overzealous TSA goon, like at the airports......
(ughh,,,,I need a shower now)
That's a nice fantasy, except that high-speed bullet trains will have TSA security check points just as airports do. The hope that you can just hop a train and head to Dallas passing through zero hoops is a happy fiction. Even in Europe most inter-city trains have metal detectors and security checks. The Eurostar has all of these and full customs to boot. Yes, there are less security hoops to jump through on the train, but you still go through an airport-like security scan pre-boarding.

There's no way people are going to be allowed to board a multi-Billion dollar transportation system filled with dozens (or hundreds, to not start a tiff over projected use) of people without going through a security screen. Because the TSA is nothing more than a glorified jobs program they'll assuredly be the ones administering it. I wouldn't even be surprised if the makers of the full body scanners don't apply a full court lobbying press to get their expensive toys installed.

It will be the same security theater, at about the same cost (I would imagine) just slightly longer in duration.

Of course Sheila Jackson-Lee thinks it's a great idea.

All that being said, if the State would consider opening up the easements to bid and allow the system to be ran by the private market (regulated, much the way air travel is) I would support a high-speed train network in Texas. Preferably a system that connected the cities in the Texas Triangle. That way there'd at least be a profitability filter ran on the system before it got off the drawing board.

But a glorified AMTRAK system? Blech.

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