by Paul J. Gessing
This November Floridians will have the chance to reverse what could have been a costly decision to squander billions of dollars on high-speed rail in the state. Advocates of the project, who have spent millions to back the program, claim that roads and air travel receive massive subsidies from both federal and state governments, while rail systems are left to wither on the vine. They don’t mention that airline passengers and automobile users pay several taxes to fund their own infrastructure. Airline passengers pay 7.5 percent ticket tax, international arrival and departure taxes, security fees, and passenger facility charges. Highway users pay gas taxes at the federal and state levels, not to mention an array of state and local fees, permits, and tolls. Passenger rail subsidies, on the other hand, come out of general revenues.