Apparently "high speed rail" is the new shibboleth.
The whole issue makes otherwise smart people say dumb things, like Jonah Goldberg, who tweeted last night: Via Appia" is how you say "Shinkansen" in Latin, and it sure wasn't private enterprise that laid that roadbed...
Anyhow, fast choo-choo trains are currently high on the SWPL list because foreigners have them, especially cool foreigners like the Japanese and the French, and who doesn't want to be more like a foreigner? They have exotic-sounding accents and know more about sushi and wine than we do!
Meanwhile, to prove that you are a libertarian or conservative, you have to hatehatehate fast choo-choo trains right down to the very marrow of your bones, since the only obvious use for high speed rail is to lose money while towing cattle cars to the concentration camps at face-distorting accelerations.
Me? I have no strong opinions one way or another on choo-choo trains, whatever their speed. If someone wants to build a railroad and drive their trains really fast on it, more power to them. If they have reasonable rates and are going somewhere I want to go and they promise to treat me like a paying customer or even just a dignified human being and not like livestock or an airline passenger, I might even purchase their services.
But I don't see where it's any of the Federal government's business how fast choo-choo trains go, or even whether or not we have them at all.