Seriously friend? Governments have exhausted space exploration? There's nothing more to learn and no resources to exploit outside our own increasingly polluted atmosphere? What forces "already in place" do you suggest we use to get up the gravity well? As far as fixing the ship, we're over capacity. Unless you want to start throwing people overboard... We need to increase our resource base. Since you have an apparent objection to us doing that here, we need to go elsewhere. Up and out is the only elsewhere we have available.
"Free high speed rail transport"? "Healthy food to feed the..."?
Nothing is free. Someone pays for everything. People who espouse "free" anything simply want someone else to pay for their toys. I'm not saying public transportation is a bad thing, but don't try to tell me that it's free.
Oh, and I wouldn't worry about the aliens slapping us down. If you look into the distances and physics involved, if they can get here, we won't even know what hit us. We are far more likely to do ourselves in though, unless we get a little more elbow room. Hey guess what, that's what space exploration is all about. What do you know, those egotistical astronauts are trying to solve your problems.