This is insane.
Now, I like high speed trains. I started to ride the (not so) high speed Acela to New York after I wrecked my car in 2006. I started riding it to Philly after the American air transport system suffered a nervous breakdown last summer. In France, I loved the TGV ride from Lyon to Paris, and when Amma and I go to London in June we intend to ride the Eurostar to somewhere just for the sheer coolness of it. And while I opposed Florida's ill-fated and soon-reversed decision to build an HST, I think that a route between San Francisco and San Diego is an excellent idea.
But an Argentine train from B.A. to Rosario (and eventually Córdoba) is crazy. 12 percent of city-dwellers lack access to improved sanitation. The ports are a mess. The Buenos Aires commuter rail and subway system, while improving, are in drastic need of both renovation and expansion. Streets need to be paved, water systems hooked up, schools built. There was nothing on which $3.7 billion could be spent for a higher social return?
I suppose that the only good thing that can be said about the project is that it proves that investors really do have short memories. I haven't been able to track down the terms of the financing deal, but any deal is impressive in a country that essentially repudiated 65 percent of its foreign debt in 2005.
I strongly supported that repudiation, by the way. But developments since then have been disappointing.