Former Vice President Joe Biden promised a “second great railroad revolution” as part of his climate change pitch on Tuesday in Wilmington, Delaware.
As part of a “clean energy” push, Biden promised “jobs that lay the lies for the second great railroad revolution, which will not only slash pollution, it will slash commute times and open up investment in areas connected to metropolitan centers for the first time.”
Biden appeared to be referring to plans for federally-subsidized high-speed rail — a rehash of plans he oversaw during President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus.
In 2009, Biden was deputized to supervise the $862 billion “Recovery Act,” which often funneled money to pet projects and politically-favored constituencies.
One of its goals was to encourage the nationwide development of high-speed rail, regardless of consumer demand. There was little progress, because the technology proved too expensive, and because the rights of property owners along the way were too difficult to deal with, among other obstacles.
Many Republican governors elected in the 2010 Tea Party wave canceled their states’ high-speed rail plans, but even Democrats could not follow through.
In California, which was the state that took high-speed rail most seriously, Gov. Jerry Brown persisted with plans for a line from San Francisco to Los Angeles, even after officials admitted it would not make the trip in less than three hours, as promised, and even after the cost ballooned to several times what voters had originally proposed.
Shortly after taking office in 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom finally canceled the California High-Speed Rail Authority project, saying it “would cost too much and, respectfully, would take too long.”
He wanted to keep a portion of the rail system planned for the rural Central Valley, but President Trump demanded that the state return the federal funds that were supposed to fund the original project.
Biden’s pitch for railroads came as part of a larger plan for reducing emissions. Like the Green New Deal proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) last year, it proposes eliminating fossil fuels in electricity generation — albeit by 2035 instead of 2030.
The Green New Deal also emphasizes railroads, and a set of talking points that accompanied that plan suggested doing away with “farting cows and airplanes.”
In his speech, Biden accused Trump being “un-American” because he was, Biden said, “focused only on the technology [of] the last century, instead of inventing the technology that will define this century.”
Biden is often associated with the Amtrak Acela train, which he rode from his home in Wilmington, Delaware, back-and-forth to Washington, DC.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.