The notion of building a high-speed rail link in Alberta between Calgary and Edmonton is an idea that just won’t go away. Every few years it pops up. Then the people start discussing the costs of such a venture and it falls to the wayside. A 2014 report from The Standing Committee on Alberta's Economic Future found that constructing a high-speed rail line in Alberta is not economically feasible.Undeterred by past reports, the Smith government has dived back into the high-speed rail game. In adding the concept into the 2023 throne speech, they have made it clear that they aren’t just floating idea balloons here. They want to go ahead with this idea.Nobody was demanding a plan for a high-speed rail link during the 2023 Alberta provincial election. No political party or candidate was campaigning on the creation of a high-speed rail link in the last election and nobody has been demanding such a project since. So why on earth are we looking into doing this? To be blunt, this looks like a concept from a premier who is already seeking a legacy project for herself despite the lack of need or public demand for it. Danielle Smith is a new premier with a lot of work ahead of her in the next few years. She really should drop this dream and focus on what's important to Albertans despite her personal love of trains.Calgary’s Green line LRT expansion within has become a hopelessly delayed project that has reduced its scope by half as its budget was blown. If an inner-city Alberta train line can’t be constructed within a reasonable time period and close to budget, can we really expect a project as huge as a high-speed rail line to be completed efficiently? Edmonton’s LRT expansion has turned into a catastrophe as well by the way.Other jurisdictions have floated the concept and usually they back off. California chose to go forward with it though and it has been a total disaster. California began its high-speed rail line adventure back in 2008. The budget was set at UD$33 billion and it was to have a complete link between San Diego and Sacramento operational by 2020. Now after 15 years, the cost estimate has gone up to US$113 billion and nearly none of the line is complete. A 171 mile starter line has been under construction in the middle of the state with a projected completion date of 2030. Few expect that short line to be done by then.Proponents of boondoggles such as high-speed rail lines then shift to the flawed 'sunk cost' argument once the project is underway. They tell people “well, we can’t stop now” once it becomes clear that the project is turning into a catastrophe. Contractors will have already pocketed their money and the deals will have been cut. Legislators feel compelled to just keep pumping money into the project no matter how bad it gets.These pie-in-the-sky type projects need to be nipped in the bud right at the concept stage. The best time for Alberta to shut down the high-speed rail idea is right now. We can’t let the government start pouring tax dollars into this.Premier Smith has claimed Alberta will see its population explode to as high as 10 million people by 2050 though there appears to be no statistical basis for that estimate. Even if that number is accurate, then the challenge Alberta will face will be with housing, not access to a high-speed rail line. The province will need infrastructure expansion on all fronts and messing around with a new rail line would only delay the construction of that infrastructure. We will be needing homes, schools, hospitals and roadway expansions.California has a population of more than 39 million people right now with higher density and they can’t make a high-speed rail link work. It is sheer folly to imagine Alberta could do so with the limited demand between Edmonton and Calgary.Imagine the battles and delays as the land must be expropriated for the new rail line construction. Not every landowner is going to be enthusiastic with the idea. Where will the construction labour come from? Who will operate this behemoth?Who really would ride this train if and when it was ever completed?Ticket prices will either have to be astronomically high or taxpayers will all be heavily soaked. Then a rider will have to seek transportation at the other end of the line whether through Uber, a car rental or on the local crime ridden public transit. In other words, it would be much like flying between the cities and only a limited number of people would find it worthwhile.If the concept was viable, private interests would be clamouring to build such a link. We can’t spare the tens of billions on a pet project that will only appeal to a tiny segment of the population.I am optimistic about the Smith government and look forward to them making the changes the province needs.The high-speed rail idea is a bad one though and we need to let the government know this sooner rather than later.