Two points with this article:Choose high-speed rail over F-35s
Sat Feb 4 2012
Byline: Ken Gray
1) While it's perfectly okay to criticize the F-35 as technically flawed or debate its suitability for Canada, why tie it to HSR? How is building HSR dependent on cancelling the F-35? Funds are not an issue for the federal government. It can budget, move projects around, run a slightly longer deficit, etc. So why the association? People would find it patently ridiculous if somebody had suggested cutting CBC or arts and culture funding to pay for HSR. Yet, leaving the country's airspace utterly defenceless is okay? (It would take the entire F-35 budget to pay for HSR by the Feds and then some, so no money for a cheaper jet either). Heck, why not go one step further? Disband the armed forces entirely. $20 billion saved per year. We'll just let the Americans police our waters and airspace (if they'll do it for cheaper). And if the argument is from an industrial base perspective, is Ken Gray really so naive to think that the thousands of aerospace workers in hundreds of companies across the land about to get a piece of the largest defence program ever known would want to take months (or more likely years) to retool to get a piece of a one shot rail program that in its entirety would cost less than 5% of the total JSF program, with an industrial component (rolling stock) that would be less than 25% of the total HSR project cost? Then again, it is Ken Gray, he's well known in Ottawa for his pie-in-the-sky fantasizing.
2) The example of the 401 runs against the article. It was a provincial project that transformed the province. One could easily argue, citing the 401, that Queen's Park should foot the bill for a rail line that will transform the province. Again, the deficit excuse doesn't cut it. Queen's Park can find the funds if they have to.
Personally, I do think the Feds should be involved in building HSR. But there is no way they should be paying the entire cost.