So who are the wusses keeping Pennsylvania from getting a high-speed, state-of-the-art bullet train between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia?
Virtually everybody in the Congress who are unwilling to spend money on our infrastructure. We have just gotten so far away from investing money in big, significant projects. You know, I have to laugh. The 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge [was] a couple of weeks ago. I watched one of the shows. It said when they decided to build it there were a lot of critics who said it was too hard structurally. It couldn't be done. It was going to be a failure. In fact, of course it turned out to not be true. The Golden Gate Bridge was a great triumph, both in architecture and in opening up economic development.
We have lost that spirit of adventure. We lost that spirit of doing tough things. I quote JFK when he said about going to the moon: "We do this not because it's easy. We do it because it's hard."
A train like that between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh would be a huge artery for commerce.
Awesome. It would do great things for the state. It would also do great things for the country because once you build the Pittsburgh to Philadelphia link, then the rest of it falls into place.
Wouldn't it be great if we were the state that did it.
Well, it would be awesome. For us to do it on our own it's just too much money. There is no way Pennsylvania by itself could pay for the development of that. Now what we could do is with the right incentives see if there are any private companies that are willing to do it.
How do we get that started?
You could put out something they call an RFI -- Request for Interest. Say what the project is and see if anybody would be interested in building it for us in return for development rights along the track, in return for some level of subsidy, etc. Of course they would keep all the fares, all the advertising, all the development rights from new stations or whatever, and see if we can make it work.
Did this ever come up while you were governor?
No, it didn't because we were fighting for some basics in transportation -- you know, repairing our bridges and repairing our roads -- before I thought I could do any new projects transportationwise. You know we had over 6,000 structurally deficient bridges, and I needed to seriously reduce that. We have. We've reduced it to under 5,300 structurally deficient bridges, and we are headed in the right direction. And we got a big boost from the stimulus money.