Maybe I just have a conspiratorial mindset, but I couldn't read about the federal Department of Transportation shutting down 26 interstate bus companies — announced at a press conference with both Senator Schumer and the transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, a Republican, in attendance — without remembering that high-speed rail is a big priority of the Obama administration and of congressional Democrats. The success of the bus companies at offering cheap intercity transportation without federal subsidies other than whatever is spent on maintaining the roads helps to undercut the case for spending tens of billions of tax dollars on trains to serve the same routes. So the feds have an interest in portraying the bus companies an unsafe. Don't get me wrong — there may well be some genuine safety issues. But the fact that the federal government owns and wants to expand a competing transportation system (Amtrak) doesn't exactly boost the credibility of the regulatory actions.