California High Speed Rail Could Use Some Spanish Lessons

Tim Sheehan investigates the lessons -- both successes and mistakes -- that can be learned from Spain's 20-year history with high speed trains.

With every news cycle, the prospects for California's High Speed Rail being constructed seem to become more remote. Having spent $60 billion to build its high speed network since the late 1980s, with a geographic and cultural setting most analogous to California, and touted by the Obama administration as the model for its HSR plans, Sheehan examines the key ways in which Spain's experiences can help the Golden State navigate the track ahead.

Unfortunately for California, top among the lessons learned "is just how hard it is to be self-sufficient, even when conditions seem ideal, as they have in Spain."

"It can be a failure or a fiasco if it starts in two cities that aren't as well populated or if there isn't as much attraction," says Pedro Pérez del Campo, environmental policy director for ADIF. "The lesson is to do it right the first time, or extending it will not be possible because the public won't be in agreement. The people here have been in agreement."

Full Story: What California can learn from Spain's high-speed rail Read more here:


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city

Choose from over 20 styles of neckties imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET