McCain's Talking "Texas T-Bone"

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Well, OK, he kinda mentions the Texas High Speed Rail and Transportation Corporation. It's nothing too earth-shattering, mind you, but yesterday the presumptive Republican presidential nominee sat down for a chitchat with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's editors and reporters. And one of the questions posed to him had to do with the rising price of oil and McCain's commitment to mass transit and high-speed rail. The full Q and all the A after the jump. --Robert Wilonsky

Trib: Senator, in an effort to curtail our dependence on oil, how much of a commitment will your administration make to mass transit and high speed rail?

McCain: Well, I will obviously commit to doing whatever is necessary to spur that, but I'd also like to point out to you, Brad, that one of the reasons why we haven't done more is because a lot of Americans don't want to use it. Now again, we are seeing a dramatic increase in the use of mass transit because of what -- the reasons we just discussed. There's another aspect of this, too, very quickly, and that is that it has to do with passenger per mile. In other words, Maglev and other new technologies have reduced that cost per passenger per mile. But I also have got to look you in the eye and tell you that there are Amtrak routes that will never be viable, OK? And we have a lot of work to do on the infrastructure, the tunnels, etc. But to subsidize a route that goes from Miami to Los Angeles is at 200 and some dollars per passenger, that's not what we want to do. That's not the answer. In my hometown of Phoenix, right now we are constructing mass transit. I believe that you will see in many cities and interconnecting cities, particularly in high population areas, you will see mass transit become a reality. They are talking about Dallas-Fort Worth to Houston. They are talking about all across the west coast, you know, which once upon a time there was more of that. But also east coast and connecting many of your hubs and all that. So all I can say is that I will commit to it, but a lot of it is going to have to be dictated by again the demand for that kind of transportation.

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