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Lexington Stopping soft money Mar 15th 2001 From The Economist print edition NEXT week, the campaign-finance gala ball kicks off on the floor of the Senate with debate on the socalled McCain-Feingold bill. This is America’s best opportunity in a decade to change its system of money politics. If the bill were passed, it would be the first big revision to campaign-finance legislation since the current rules were enacted in 1974. Supporters of reform sometimes claim anything would be better than the current system.

That project will require an estimated investment of $140m, some of which will come from the government. If the tender is successful, more may follow to develop other suburban services and to improve services to the south. Gradually, EFE is building a better service. By the end of next year, it expects track repairs to have cut the journey time from Santiago to Temuco from 12 1/2 to nine hours. The company will soon take delivery of more modern trains, acquired second-hand from Spain. But the government has said that further improvements, including the extension of passenger services to Puerto Montt in the far south, will depend on private finance.

Chile’s government hopes so. Suburban railways, it says, are needed to improve access to big cities, while better long-distance services would reduce the tendency of Chileans to cluster in Santiago. ) Trains would help reduce road deaths and cut pollution, besides offering grand views of the Andes out of the window. However, the government’s arguments may not cut much ice with private investors—or with the general public. Until the Pan-American highway was completed in the 1960s, the train was the best way to get to the south of Chile.

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The Economist - 17 March 2001 by The Economist Group


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