The New York Times has a useful article on state-based Republican opposition to President Obama's spending plans for high-speed rail. From the article:
"The bottom line is that high-speed rail is a national program that will connect the country, spur economic development and bring manufacturing jobs to the U.S.," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman, said in a statement. "It will also transform transportation in America, much like the Interstate highway system did under President Eisenhower. It's hard to imagine what would have happened to states like Ohio and Wisconsin if their leaders had decided they didn't want to be connected to the rest of the country back then."
What arrogance to claim that without the Eisenhower-Nixon Interstates, Ohio and Wisconsin wouldn't "be connected to the rest of the country." How does Mr. LaHood reckon that the populations of those states arrived there in the first place? What connects the states to the rest of the country is the Constitution, not some federal spending project. The debate over high-speed rail is a sign that the debate among free-market-oriented conservatives over the Eisenhower-Nixon Interstate Highway system isn't of strictly academic or historical interest; it has implications for today's policies.