Does California Need High-Speed Rail?

For the second time this week, the "Room For Debate" section of The New York Times is tackling an area of interest for planners. This time, High Speed Rail in California is up for debate by a series of contributors.

The New York Times has stepped into the debate over High Speed Rail in California, as the issue continues to garner national interest. A series of advocates, planners, professors, and authors each stake out a position on whether to proceed with the country's most ambitious plan for High Speed Rail.

Some see it as the key to catalyzing "a new generation of growth" for the state. Another voice sees it as a good idea that has been corrupted by unscrupulous bureaucrats and consultants. Still another sees a great idea in a bad location, and advocates for focusing efforts to develop HSR in the Northeast Corridor, where there is proven demand.

Full Story: Does California Need High-Speed Rail?

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Comments

Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

Critiquing the CA HSR

I read through all the commentaries, commented on several of the responses.
A case is made for building the rail; a case is made that the current plan, and those in charge, are too flawed for this $100 billion plan.
And all the while, we continue to lay asphalt, extend airports.

Imagine if every public project was held to this same degree of scrutiny!
Nothing would get built by the public sector......

Rail is held to a higher scrutiny because we've never seen anything like what is proposed for California. I hope Brown sticks with it!
(See Planetizen: Gov Reafirms Faith In Controversial CA High Speed Rail Project ...Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

Psuedo-progressive whiners

Californian rail fans were easy to mislead. The legislative mandate for 200+mph speeds guaranteed prohibitive costs, high impacts, exclusively expensive tickets, fewer stations and communities to serve. This very end of California's HSR dream many predicted, but smarter-than-thou progressives wouldn't heed warnings. Practical rail plans using non-electrified and/or hybrid locomotives that reach 135mph would have cut the cost in half and could have been operating today adding only an hour or so to the L.A-to-S.F trip. On the national HSR issue, progressives begin as frivolous advocates and end as beligerant whiners blaming others instead of themselves.

Once again, go with non-electrified or hybrid Talgo XXI-type trainsets USA engineered in the 1940's-50's. Invest in existing track, grade separation, sidelines, electronic monitoring, etc, in stages to benefit freight as well and passenger rail service will attain international standards in less than 20 years. Or, keep listening to the highway department "moles" once again plotting to undermine rail service.

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