$11 billion later, high-speed rail is inching along

Even the New York Times lays the blame for squandering $11 billion at the feet of the Obama administration. It seems that even with record amounts of money, the bureaucracy managed to swallow it with almost nothing to show for its spending. My predictions of imperceptible incremental change, way back in May of 2009, have been fulfilled.

While Republican opposition and community protests have slowed the projects here, transportation policy experts and members of both parties also place blame for the failures on missteps by the Obama administration — which in July asked Congress for nearly $10 billion more for high-speed initiatives.

Instead of putting the $11 billion directly into those projects, critics say, the administration made the mistake of parceling out the money to upgrade existing Amtrak service, which will allow trains to go no faster than 110 miles per hour. None of the money originally went to service in the Northeast Corridor, the most likely place for high-speed rail.


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10 reasons why you still need a travel agent

It seems counterintuitive, but use of travel agents to book airfares is actually rising. It seems that even with the Internet, the airlines have made purchasing airfares almost as complex as getting a mortgage. Besides helping sort out the aviation mess, travel agents can help with more. It’s worth checking out before you do it all yourself and then have problems.

Here are 10 reasons why they’re still useful:

1) They are educated and have personal experience
2) They have clout
3) The fixer
4) Cost-savings
5) Time-savings
6) Safety net
7) On the cutting edge
8) You pay the same anyway!
9) You get matched right
10) An ongoing mutually beneficial relationship

Southwest Airlines makes sure travelers know where it’s going after the Wright amendment dies

On October 13, 2014, the Wright amendment, which forbids Southwest Airlines from flying beyond connecting states with non-stop flights from Dallas, will expire. The spunky airline is letting everyone know with colorful billboards where they will be flying from their home airport. (Click through to the Dallas Morning News story; Southwest knows how to do billboards.)

In February, the Dallas airline named the 15 cities that it will begin serving when the Wright amendment expires, along with its restrictions on nonstop service out of Love Field. Shortly afterward, a new set of billboards popped up.

Let us say that anyone who travels Mockingbird Lane and doesn’t know where Southwest Airlines plans to fly after the Wright amendment ends hasn’t been paying attention. For those who don’t travel Mockingbird Lane, the south border of the airport, here are some photos of the Southwest billboards.