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California faces a turning point on Tuesday. Of the numerous and important races and propositions on the ballot - including of course the all-important No on Prop 8 campaign - one proposition stands out as a potential turning point for our state, an opportunity to move beyond the failures of the 20th century and build a sustainable and prosperous future for the 21st century.

That opportunity is Proposition 1A - California High Speed Rail. If you have not already voted, it is imperative that you vote YES on Prop 1A. It may seem like an esoteric project, but high speed trains are as essential to our 21st century prosperity as the Golden Gate Bridge or the California Aqueduct was to our 20th century prosperity.

I run the California High Speed Rail Blog which is the leading source of information on the project and on Prop 1A. Since March I have written in great detail about the benefits of the project and debunked the right-wing lies being spread about it. It's hard to summarize all that in a concise diary but I will do my best. Below is a summary of the project and why it is a good and necessary idea here and now.

The Project

Currently passenger rail in California is slow but successful. Ridership on Amtrak California trains sets monthly records and routes like the Pacific Surfliner and the Capitol Corridor are packed, standing room only in some cases.

To expand the system - and to provide frequent, fast, reliable train service between the two halves of our state, SF and LA, we need to build new tracks. As we witnessed last month in the Chatsworth disaster, it is not always safe for passenger trains to share tracks with freight trains, and in any case doing so ensures slow and spotty service.

California High Speed Rail is a project that would provide that need. It involves building high speed rail tracks, for passenger trains only, "grade separated" so there will be no places where cars cross the tracks. It will be built in two phases: First from downtown San Francisco to Anaheim, via downtown San José, Gilroy, Fresno, Bakersfield, Palmdale, Burbank, and downtown LA (Union Station). This will be completed by 2018. Second phase is extensions to Sacramento and San Diego.

The trains will run at a projected top speed of 220 mph, delivering passengers from SF to LA in about 2 hours 40 minutes.

Mythbuster time! Some critics have claimed this speed and time are unattainable given current technology and terrain. This is nonsense! We are under attack from well-funded far-right groups spreading misinformation, on this point in particular. 220mph has been easily reached on trains in Taiwan, China, and Japan. France and Spain have trains that come very close. All of those countries have terrain very similar to the California route - flat valleys, metro areas, broken up by the occasional mountain range. Current HSR technology can easily reach 220mph and prototypes have broken 300mph. For information on HSR speed projections see this link

Prop 1A includes $9 billion for high speed rail and $950 million for other passenger rail lines, including commuter rail like Caltrain and Metrolink, which badly need the money.

Economics and Financing

Right away I'm sure some of you are saying "this is a great idea but omg have you seen the California budget deficit lately? we can't afford this!"

Such claims are ridiculous and ignorant expressions of neo-Hooverism. If you consider yourself a progressive it is imperative that you support this project.

First, the impact on the state budget. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst Office reported that California can afford Prop 1A. The $10 billion does not come out of the general fund all at once, but will be repaid over the course of 30 years. The overall financial cost would be about $19 billion, but paid around $500 million per year. Pocket change for massive economic stimulus.

What about that budget deficit? It is the product of Republicans, not of nature or economic forces. Republicans have for decades set California's tax rates too low in an effort to destroy government. Think Grover Norquist but much more successful. Because California requires a 2/3 vote to pass a budget, and because Democrats don't have a 2/3 majority, Republicans can and have demanded tax and spending cuts. Are we going to let them kill necessary projects like high speed rail? If you vote no on Prop 1A because of the budget deficit you are falling for their trap.

But there's more. How exactly is California going to emerge from this economic downturn? Through deficit spending on infrastructure. Infrastructure projects are a tried and true part of stabilizing and growing the economy during rough times. The Golden Gate Bridge, Shasta Dam, and the California Aqueduct were all built with voter-approved bonds during a recession, the first two during the deepest part of the Great Depression. The Shasta Dam was built with aid from FDR's New Deal. Prop 1A will do the same today. We need jobs. Now.

High speed rail will create at least 160,000 construction jobs and 450,000 long-term jobs. Those jobs will spur the creation of other jobs, helping our economy recover. Those jobs generate income and sales tax revenue, easing the budget deficit. California would be crazy to turn down 160,000 jobs right now.

Further, as a recent PBS documentary explained, it was high gas prices that burst the housing bubble. Yes, gas prices have been falling - but that is only because of demand destruction. In other words, people drive less, so the price falls. The ONLY way that can be sustained over the long-term is by building alternatives to oil. If we don't, demand WILL rise - and so will gas prices.

Finally, numerous economists have argued strongly for infrastructure spending right now as both economic stimulus and a way to ease the financial crisis - which after all is happening because of underlying insolvency here in the United States. These economists include Lawrence Summers, Nouriel Roubini, Duncan Black, Dean Baker and Brad DeLong, and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman.

Those who claim otherwise - that the budget deficit means we should not do infrastructure spending - are trying to defeat a revival of the New Deal. I'll have more to say about Prop 1A's critics below.

Prop 1A will not be enough in itself to build the project. We will need federal and private assistance. Both are interested in doing so, but someone has to make the first move and the first commitment. That is the state of California. Once we do, Congress will come through with $10 to $15 billion in aid. Already John Kerry and Johnny Isakson are proposing a major HSR funding bill in Congress. And nearly 40 private companies have signed nonbinding but significant letters of interest with the California High Speed Rail Authority indicating their intention to participate as well.

What if federal and private money don't materialize? Then Californians are off the hook - Prop 1A mandates that the bond money can provide only 50% of the construction cost, and that without additional money we can't start construction.

Will HSR be an ongoing drag on the state budget? Of course not. EVERY high speed rail system in operation today - every last one - is profitable. In France the TGVs subsidize the rest of SNCF's rail operations. In Spain the AVE high speed trains subsidize the construction cost of new lines.

Finally, the cost of doing nothing is NOT zero. To expand roads and airports to meet the same demand that HSR serves will cost over $100 billion. HSR is an economical way to solve our transportation needs.

Energy Independence

High speed rail is also an essential piece of our energy independence strategy. It will save 12 million barrels of oil per year. For those of you who know anything about peak oil you'll understand the benefits of that.

At a time of ever-rising gas prices, the provision of alternatives to driving and flying is even more important. The high gas prices of earlier this year created an airline crisis, leading many carriers to cut flights between LA and SF and to raise fares as well.

Mythbuster time! Some might say "but gas prices have collapsed!" True. We were paying over $4.50 in Monterey this summer, now I've seen prices as low as $2.70. But who here thinks that's going to last? Who here is willing to gamble that the price will never rise again?

The only reason oil prices have declined is demand destruction. Meaning that fewer people are using gas to travel. If lower gas prices spur an increase in gas consumption, the price will rise again, as many economists have recognized. The only way to produce affordable, sustainable, long-term growth independent of the vagaries of oil price fluctuation is to build rail projects such as high speed rail.

Energy independence also spurs economic growth. Urban planners have identified a green dividend. When a metro area invests in mass transit, the money not spent on gas or in congestion can get redirected to other uses. In Portland alone the green dividend is around $3 billion. HSR will produce an even larger green dividend for California.

Global warming

High speed rail and Prop 1A are also necessary to beat back global warming and reduce our carbon emissions. As this chart from Alberta High Speed Rail shows, HSR is by far one of the most climate-friendly forms of transportation:

California High Speed Rail will cut 12 billion pounds of carbon emissions per year. Additionally, the California High Speed Rail Authority has adopted a plan to power the entire system by renewable electricity. An independent study has shown this is possible, and that HSR will serve as a spur to new renewable projects in California by providing a guaranteed purchaser of renewable energy.

Our Critics

If this project is so great why would anyone oppose it? Few are. No official opposition committee has been formed to fight Prop 1A. However, some of the usual right-wing suspects are doing all they can to prevent a progressive, Green New Deal from being implemented here in California.

As I wrote about today at the HSR blog, the Howard Jarvis Association and the Reason Foundation are acting as the de facto No on 1A campaign, and are having some success at getting their misinformation and lies across in the media. These groups, the Reason Foundation in particular, are funded by oil, auto, and airline companies like ExxonMobil, Ford, and Delta Air Lines. No wonder they oppose high speed rail!

These two organizations banded together to put out a study full of misinformation and lies, claiming that HSR will be a "boondoggle." We thoroughly debunked that study at our blog, as well as other outright lies from the Reason Foundation and their allies.

But we progressives, we Kossacks, we know better. Don't we? We know better than to embrace a new Hooverism and side with our longtime right-wing enemies on this. Don't we?

California progressives support Prop 1A, as shown by the Courage Campaign's Progressive Voter Guide. (Note: I work for the Courage Campaign and put together that voter guide, although my activism on Prop 1A is done on my own time and is not an official project of the Courage Campaign.) These groups include the California Democratic Party, the California Labor Federation, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, and many others.

If we want to bring America out of its economic crisis and provide modern, safe, clean, sustainable transportation, we MUST approve Proposition 1A. As Van Jones so memorably told us at Netroots Nation this summer, we must move from opposition to proposition. Our future is at stake. Will you help create a better future by voting for Prop 1A?


For more information on Prop 1A:

California High Speed Rail Blog - founded by yours truly, FULL of detailed information on the above points and many others

California High Speed Rail Authority

Californians for High Speed Trains - the official Yes on 1A campaign site

High Speed Rail for California - a project of Fiona Ma, who has led the fight in CA for HSR

Support California High Speed Rail - our Facebook group, with over 40,000 members!

Originally posted to eugene on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 02:43 PM PDT.


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Comment Preferences

  •  It's our future vs their status quo (23+ / 0-)

    Let's not allow right-wing wackjobs hold California back from assuring prosperity for the 21st century!

    I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
    Neither is California High Speed Rail

    by eugene on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 02:43:39 PM PDT

    •  It would be cool to hop a train here in (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, esquimaux

      the Northern CA area and go see SoCal Kossacks without the hassle of driving or the headache / cost of flying.

      Two yes votes from this house...already hand delivered to the Registrars' office!

      John McCain and the Keating 5. John McCain and his lobbyists...then and now.

      by SallyCat on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 03:03:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Even for those of us not on the proposed HSR line, like we here in Monterey, this will be a huge boon. I could take a train or drive to Gilroy and be in Orange County to visit family within 3 hours. No other form of transportation offers that convenience for such an affordable cost.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
        Neither is California High Speed Rail

        by eugene on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 03:05:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Once the HSR is in the other transit will (0+ / 0-)

          inter-mesh with it.  HSR is the core system for revitalizing transit throughout California.  Local bus and rail systems will be given a shot in the arm.  Light rail systems will be able to be part of a larger system.

          I so tired of having to drive long distances staring at the road.  I want to be able to move around, have lunch, and read a book.

          And then there's what this will do for business, and what this will be as an economic recovery stimulus.

          S.F. and L.A. used to do a lot of business together in the old rail days because you could take the Coast Starlight overnight and get off at the start of the the business day in the other city.  This will increase that by a factor of four.

          •  You might take a look at the Amtrak California (0+ / 0-)

            schedules and interconnections. It's slow and inconvenient compared to what it should be, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how much it's improved in the last few years and how many places you could go. It just might take a while and might not be at the time you need.

            It just makes me appreciate the potential for HSR all the more. :-)

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:49:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes, and one of the biggest holes in CA-Amtrak . (0+ / 0-)

              ... is the poor connection between Northern and Southern California, which is precisely because at Amtrak top speeds of around 70mph, the trip time is so long that it cannot attract a large share of the market, and without that large share of the market, its not possible to justify capacity expansion to break the existing rail capacity bottleneck between Bakersfield and LA.

              With the speeds of HSR, that route can capture a large share of the existing air travel market ... which is a market where people are already getting out of their cars to go somewhere.

              With that backbone in place, there will be an immediate uptick in usage of CA-Amtrak to access the HSR.

              And an HSR station makes an excellent anchor for a local transit route, whether bus or light rail or suspended light rail or mass transit.

        •  I agree completely (0+ / 0-)

          I am already enjoying the use of the San Joaquins - slow as they are - with 4 separate legs. I am up in the sticks on the North Coast, but if I could take an Amtrak California bus to the high speed rail system, it would make travel to Southern California easy and convenient. Add in wireless internet, and I could do that commute frequently with no one noticing I was out of the office, which would be a big boon to my business.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:46:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Quick question.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      How many people will it be able to handle by whatever statistics - weekly, yearly?

      McCain, Republican Party, Palin = Captain, Sinking Ship, Anchor.

      by Pescadero Bill on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 03:07:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent roundup! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Pd, BYw

    I'm guessing that's Ron Utt who's weighed in on 1A for the Reason Foundation. Heard anything from the highway hound Wendell Cox?

    As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.

    by ticket punch on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 02:47:50 PM PDT

  •  I really hope this gets built (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6, SallyCat, esquimaux

    Growing up, I rode BART on the day it opened.  That system is now held up as a model of how a regional transit system can work, and work well.

    The new rail system proposed could take train based transit to the next level.  Only in the northeast corridor in the US do we have anything functional like it.  Not only would it have economic benefits for CA on so many levels - reduction in transportation associated costs to society, the creation of jobs, etc - but maybe, someday, I'll be able to ride a high speed train from Seattle to LA if it spreads.

    Quick to judge, Quick to anger, Slow to understand; Ignorance and prejudice and fear walk hand in hand.

    by JRandomPoster on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 02:51:38 PM PDT

  •  It'd be nice to see this happen, and (5+ / 0-)

    extended or connecting up to Portland and Seattle.

    "The military industrial complex not only controls our government, lock, stock and barrel, but they control our culture." - Mike Gravel

    by Wilberforce on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 02:52:56 PM PDT

  •  Completely Agree (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6, SallyCat, LeanneB

    There are so many reasons why the High-Speed Rail needs to get built. As people on both sides often point out, California is often a trendsetter; and proving that eco-friendly high-speed rail is a viable transit option would really encourage more projects to get built.

    I'm absolutely voting Yes on 1A. (And no on 8. And no on 4. And yes on 5. etc.)

    PUMA = Please Usurp My Abortion-Rights

    by gsadamb on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 02:54:44 PM PDT

  •  In Honor of Atrios (5+ / 0-)


    AT&T offers exciting work for recent graduates in computer science. Pick up the phone, call your mom, and ask for an application.

    by Scipio on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 02:57:01 PM PDT

  •  Dukakis is rooting for it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6

    I was talking to former Dem candidate Michael Dukakis at Northeastern University, where he still teaches poly sci (also at UCLA in the spring semester), and one of the first things he asked me about was this rail measure. He sees it as a key step toward building more trains in our country, and I agree.

    I've been out west 28 years and they've been talking about doing this that long. It was once $10 billion for the whole tab, now that's jsut the startup funding to be matched by the feds.

  •  Imagine if the 700 billion dollar Wall Street (5+ / 0-)

    bailout went into high speed rail instead.

  •  The upcoming holidays are a good reminder... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6, Pd

    My S/O and I live in San Francisco. Our respective families live in Southern California. We always dread the holidays just because flying's such a pain, and driving is so damned expensive.

    The High-Speed Rail would solve that dilemma.

    PUMA = Please Usurp My Abortion-Rights

    by gsadamb on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 03:00:18 PM PDT

    •  You might try Amtrak (0+ / 0-)

      My mom lives close to an Amtrak station and far from the airport, and I live on an Amtrak bus line. The trains are comfortable, the bus is no worse than the airport shuttle, and you can book just a few days ahead. And it's just kind of fun.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:53:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If CA gets this it will be the hook (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6, elfling, Wisteacher

    toward future prosperity. Projects like this don't just stimulate the economy, they also attract talented people to live in regions with these amenities.

    And the short term stimulus is important right now. While many of the bond measures put in front of CA voters are things that should be financed through a more progressive tax system, this is a true infrastructure project that warrants bonds.

    Hope it passes. I don't live there anymore, but I sure hope I'll get to come and visit and do an LA/San Francisco vacation by just flying in and out of one airport.

    •  Also, it will open up the Central Valley (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eugene, decembersue, Rolfyboy6, elfling

      It would be an incredible benefit to the Central Valley communities, particularly the economically depressed area around Fresno.  The region's economic development efforts have been historically hampered by the lack of reliable and affordable air service into the area.  Having the Bay Area and Los Angeles less than 90 minutes away by rail would attract more business investment and jobs into that region than just about anything else possibly can.

  •  I am a supporter, but I have some questions. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rolfyboy6, Pd, Wisteacher

    First, you state HSR will get from SF to LA in about 2 hours 40 minutes.  What is this based on?  I assume you can't maintain top speed the whole way.  And when I look at your map I see a whole bunch of stops.  Are your figures for non-stop assuming top speed or are they figures for what an actual schedule would look like?  My father-in-law is a train engineer, and from what I know of his experiences and the mechanics of driving trains, color me skeptical of this claim.

    Second, you state HSR will create 450,000 long-term jobs.  How?  To put it in perspective, UAL only has 55,000 employees and they run 3,200 flights a day to 200 destinations.  I am extremely curious how you get such a big number.

    •  The schedule will have a mix of trains (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolfyboy6, Pd, Wisteacher, gsadamb

      Express, local, and semi-express. Exactly like Caltrain. The CHSRA has an extensive set of studies explaining this available on their website. In the diary I linked to a map showing which segments of the route will achieve the 220 mph top speed - the Central Valley in particular. Other areas will see slower speeds.

      HSR creates long-term jobs through its economic impact. By providing faster and sustainable transportation it enables more population and job growth because businesses aren't spending so much of their costs on commuting, and can attract workers without having to relocate to other states or countries. Further, the 450,000 number is "long-term" - over 30 years. Those numbers come from independent studies commissioned by the CHSRA.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day
      Neither is California High Speed Rail

      by eugene on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 03:04:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As far as creating jobs (0+ / 0-)

      I can tell you that HSR would allow me to commute into Southern California or the Central Valley for regular meetings that we currently skip. It would give me more options for serving my customers and give me an advantage over my offshore competitors. It also gives me more opportunities for a wider geographic range of customers for my business.

      It also gives people a wider geographic radius for their work, especially useful in the case of dual career families, where being able to find work for two people in high tech fields within a short range of the same house is so challenging.

      One huge  advantage of trains over airports is that trains can run downtown to downtown. Airports need enormous swaths of land to support runways and provide safety buffers. To land, deplane, and leave the airport property takes at least an hour at most airports. On the other hand, you can step off a train and walk across the street into an office building or restaurant.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:59:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent diary! Highly rec'd... (5+ / 0-)

    I did some research on high speed rail in grad school, and as an infrastructure investment it totally makes sense.  At that time, my understanding was actually that most of the airlines would dearly love to get out of the Bay Area-to-L.A. shuttle business, and free up their gate spaces for more lucrative cross-country routes. (Southwest was the most notable and vocal exception) With the state population projected to continue growing, and NIMBYs making airport expansions all but impossible (e.g., the defunct SFO runway expansion project), the transportation infrastructure is all too vital to the state's (and the country's) economic future.  

    HSR in California has been studied for over a decade, and all of the preliminary engineering and EIR work are now finished.  The bond issue is the last step in the preliminary work, and the first step towards actually getting the system built.  

    The point that needs to be hammered home to California voters is that this is a bargain compared to airport and/or highway projects.  The federal matching funds are out there, and approval of the bond would put California right at the front of the line to receive billions in federal funds that have already been allocated.  The bond would also bring private investors into the fold, since public investment makes the risk profile more attractive to private investors.  

    A successful project in California would potentially show the way for other states/regions to implement their own HSR projects, and revolutionize how we conceptualize travel in this country.  It would also provide an assist to the airline industry by eliminating the low-margin shuttle routes and allow them to focus resources on the more profitable long-range routes.  

    The first step though is a YES vote on 1A.

  •  that one month Iraq war spending, put to use in (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6, elfling, Pd

    america for 40 years of growth.

    Nicely done.

  •  Jarvis and Reason opposed? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6

    Hell, that's the only endorsement I need. Yes on Prop 1A

  •  Airport and Freeway expansion - not! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6

    As you mentioned above, the alternative is not 'spend nothing', it's spend megabucks on airport and freeway expansion. And if you think it's hard to find right-of-way for rail, try widening a freeway or extending an airport in a place like the Bay Area. I live near the Oakland airport, and hwy 880, and can tell you that this will be a much better way of getting folks around fast, intrastate, than the alternatives.

    Of course it's only one part of the picture. Public transit has been starved for decades; the takeover of municipal rail lines by Goodyear and the auto companies in the 40's has been well documented, too. We need to restore and augment the shorter-range transit alternatives, alongside this. That just means that it's a part of a considered, long-term strategy, not a "magic" silver bullet. (was that a bad choice of words?)

  •  Mailed my "YES" in already. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6

    I broke my usual opposition to bonds (in favor of outright, cheaper, more honest taxes) and voted for high speed rail. It's long over due.

    "This is a fight for the future. And it's a fight we must win...Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President." Hillary Clinton, DNC, August 26, 2008

    by kck on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 03:31:14 PM PDT

  •  Amtrak and McCain (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eugene, Rolfyboy6, ticket punch

    He couldn't bring himself to say it in the campaign, but McCain considers Amtrak an earmark.  He'd kill it in his first week in office if elected.  No more trains for anyone.

  •  Please clarify (0+ / 0-)

    It involves building high speed rail tracks, for passenger trains only, "grade separated" so there will be no places where cars cross the tracks.

    I live in San Mateo Co. not far from the Caltrain corridor.  I commuted via Caltrain for about two years, so I'm familiar with those tracks.  It's my understanding that at least part of the HSR route on the S.F. peninsula will be along the existing Caltrain route.  Currently there are only a few places along the tracks where cross streets go under the tracks.  
     My question is whether all the streets now crossing over Caltrain tracks will have to be modified to go under the HSR tracks, or will some of those streets be blocked off, or some other route be constructed?

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Wed Oct 29, 2008 at 03:44:38 PM PDT

    •  All of it (0+ / 0-)

      The entire Gilroy to SF route will be along Caltrain right-of-way.  Every crossing street with be either underpassed or simply severed, or the right-of-way will be buried and covered.  Either way, there will be no grade crossings anywhere on the system.

  •  Professor Danile Press (0+ / 0-)
    I interviewed UC Santa Cruz's Dean of Environmental Studies for my film and he said that the High Speed Rail will not work because unlike in Europe, Americans have not spent enough on train infrastructure. It would take billions just to fix the train tracks we have.

    Oh, and the Dean of Green at UC Santa Cruz? He is not a right winger as you call them. ;-)

    I voted for the rail, despite its costs, but I am not sure it will pass.

    •  These are all new tracks (0+ / 0-)

      That is why it is so expensive.

      The current rail system is running at capacity. Amtrak California is running at around 80-90% of capacity, and they cannot run any more trains because there isn't the scheduling capacity. The pass between Bakersfield and Los Angeles does not run any passenger trains today because it is filled entirely with freight traffic.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:03:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Compare prop 1A to adding lanes to Hwy 99 (0+ / 0-)

    and/or Interstate 5, and you find that the additional highway space costs more than 1A, with few of the benefits.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:43:31 AM PDT

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