Note that the Washington Post, unlike the Washington Times, is a hyper-Left paper.
In the first article, you'll see that firstly a strong case is made for moving much of our freight by rail rather than semi-trailers (often called tractor-trailers in the US). This of course is not new revelation - the energy required to transport an equal amount of freight in a truck is far greater than on a train.
Following this, we find the bait-and-switch; the reader is then edged into the not-so-shrouded message. We are told that new and better ways of doing things are easier to accomplish with governmental coordination with the rail industry because there are bigger (and far fewer) rail companies than there are trucking outfits. To add to that point, the reader is reminded of the apparently anarchic existence of thousands of owner-operators who may own only one or two trucks. The message is clear - lots of small companies are bad and few, but much larger, businesses are good.
The blaster comes at the end. The Conservative columnist George Will, who rightfully exposed the Left's fixation with moving people via trains rather than the evil personally-owned car (these are only for the ones who can pay exorbitant carbon credits), is labeled as "wrong". What the writer of the Post did, though, was get the reader thinking along the lines of moving freight in the hopes that he will conflate materiel with people. We are expected to accept that there is no appreciable difference with moving coal, TV's, or lumber than there is with human beings.
The Left's plan with promoting (with massive amounts of borrowed money) is to set up passenger corridors (only hinted at even by George Will) so that Americans can eventually be herded into cities and other densely-populated regions. The family car - the prime example of the Leftist-derided Consumer Society, is in the crosshairs of the Socialists. They want the regular people to acquiesce to lives of very limited mobility, (see links on Agenda 21* at the bottom of this post) and where they can be under full control. Imagine the day when most of us can only travel by rail - a system that will be staffed by TSA agents demanding ID's and giving us rubdowns euphemistically referred to as patdowns.
"Last month, President Obama announced an initiative to improve the fuel efficiency of trucks. That’s a lofty goal, but here’s an even better idea: Let’s make an effort to move more freight by rail and less by road. Trains are far more energy-efficient than trucks — and they always will be.
Trains have a significant friction advantage over trucks. The degree of “stickiness” between two surfaces is expressed mathematically as the coefficient of friction. For a steel wheel rolling over a steel rail, its value is approximately 0.001. For a rubber tire rolling over pavement, the coefficient is between 0.006 and 0.010, or roughly an order of magnitude greater. Some friction is good — it stops the vehicle when a person runs out in front of it. But too much friction means less energy driving the vehicle forward..............
Industry consolidation also speeds implementation of new technologies. There are dozens of large trucking companies in the United States, in addition to thousands of independent truckers, which makes it difficult to broadly implement good ideas quickly. (That’s one reason President Obama is getting involved.) By contrast, a small number of companies dominate American rail freight, giving them the power and motivation to improve efficiency...........
Columnist George Will once called the preoccupation with trains a “disorder” that “illuminates the progressive mind.” He’s wrong. Recognizing a 30-year trend, accepting simple physics and caring for the environment isn’t a sickness — it’s a cure.
Remarkably widespread derision has greeted the Obama administration’s damn-the-arithmetic-full-speed-ahead proposal to spend $53 billion more (after the $8 billion in stimulus money and $2.4 billion in enticements to 23 states) in the next six years pursuant to the president’s loopy goal of giving “80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail.” “Access” and “high-speed” to be defined later.....................................
So why is America’s “win the future” administration so fixated on railroads, a technology that was the future two centuries ago? Because progressivism’s aim is the modification of (other people’s) behavior.
Forever seeking Archimedean levers for prying the world in directions they prefer, progressives say they embrace high-speed rail for many reasons—to improve the climate, increase competitiveness, enhance national security, reduce congestion, and rationalize land use. The length of the list of reasons, and the flimsiness of each, points to this conclusion: the real reason for progressives’ passion for trains is their goal of diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.
To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they—unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted—are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.
Time was, the progressive cry was “Workers of the world unite!” or “Power to the people!” Now it is less resonant: “All aboard!”