Our government wastes immense amounts of money on expensive, horrible, and pointless things (see large chunks of the defense budget). Occasionally it spends money on nice things (SUPERTRAINS or whatever your favorite is). Sometimes Sensible Liberals rightly point out that the nice thing probably costs more than it should, and besides there's this other nice thing which would be way better and also cheaper. But that trade is never on offer. If there's a nice thing about to built, it's generally at the end of a years-long process. You can't just step in and say, "Hey! Let's buy this instead."
An example of this is HSR in California. If I had a hundred billion bucks to spend on my California train set, that's probably not how I'd spend it. I'd primarily spend it on improving mass transit within California's larger cities instead of inter-city rail. But that's not the choice. It's HSR or nothing. Might as well take it.