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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Tee-rific Tuesday

Lets jump right in. I heard on the radio this morning that Warren Buffett purchased Burlington-Northern Railroad for 44 Billion dollars. I found that pretty interesting news. The announcer said that Buffett has always been interested in companies that produce things people need. He owns Dairy Queen and companies that produce underwear and sell diamonds and steel. When it is put in those terms it is pretty obvious to me how he has made so much money. I am sure there are lots of intangibles when it comes to making money but he sure seems like he has a good handle on what makes money and what doesn't. When asked about the purchase Buffett said, "It's an all in wager on the economic future of the United States."....."I love these bets."

Another thing of interest this morning was that the announce said that the trains have always been a early warning system for the state of the economy. He said that three years ago the freight business started to fall off right before the recession hit and now it is starting to grow back. It is going slowly but it is going. So that was good news. But what I found most interesting was the fact the President Obama has said that he wants to pursue a high speed rail system here in America.

As all of my regular readers know, I am a huge fan of the rail. I think America made a huge mistake in the years following World War II in not building a rail system that moves passengers at a high speed, the naysayers will tell you that it is not cost effective and that it moves to slow. But I would argue that while that can be said and is true of todays rail system, that building a system that moves people up and down the I-5 corridor would in the long run help out the state of Oregon and probably help out the USA as well. I think ultimately traffic would ease up and traffic easing up on I-5 would benefit all of us. But for the train to work it is going to have to be a generational thing and could take several years for people to get into the habit of train riding. But once they do there weould be a steady flow of riders coming from Salem and beyond into Portland to work and be entertained.

It is going to be interesting to see what happens in the future with transit and population and the cost of gasoline. If the cost of fuel continues to rise then I am sure that we see more credence given to the idea of a high speed train system. I for one certainly hope that is the case.
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