Thursday, August 09, 2012

A Golden State train wreck

State Sen. Joe Simitian’s district office near Stanford’s campus is nestled among shops sporting excruciatingly cute names (A Street Bike Named Desire,Mom’s the Word maternity wear) intended to make the progressive gentry comfortable with upscale consumption by presenting it as whimsical. This community surely has its share of advanced thinkers who think trains are wonderful because they are not cars (rampant individualism; people going wherever and whenever they want, unsupervised).

Nevertheless, Simitian was one of just four Democratic state senators who recently voted — in vain — to derail plans that eventually may involve spending more than $100 billion on a 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Simitian makes the obligatory genuflection: He favors high-speed rail “done right.” But having passed sixth-grade arithmetic, he has doubts. At one point, an estimate of 44 million riders a year — subsequently revised downward, substantially — assumed gasoline costing $40 a gallon.
Read the rest here.


Anonymous said...

Considering that both Japan and France have had high-speed trains for decades...with no problems, it's about time.

Of course there is a difference. Both were built quickly and efficiently, something that will never happen in the U.S.

Fr. George said...

As a Californian, particularly in Los Angeles, the idea of high-speed rail is ludicrous. Let's say you get to LA... then what? Our bus system is horrid, and 'Metro' (the new upscale name for the old RTD) does not integrate with local municipal systems. There is no way that someone could make the trek down from SF and get everything done in a day in LA using Metro without an overnight stay and a lot of extra hassles. The problem is that the politicians are the only people who have a northern to southern California connection.