Why High Speed Rail Shouldn't Ride In California

Wendell Cox weighs the true costs over the reported costs of creating a high speed train system for cities between San Diego and Sacramento. He offers opposition to a very expensive and likely underused project.
June 16, 2006, 8am PDT | Nate Berg
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Wendell Cox served on the Los Angeles County transportation commission from 1977 to 1985. Though he could be called a general proponent of the idea of high speed rail, he says it's not the right choice for California.

At issue in his opinion piece, published in the Orange County Register, is a proposed high speed rail system spanning most of the state, hitting major cities like San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Sacramento. He argues that the estimated costs are far below what the actual costs would total. In his argument he cites the costs of other large transportation porjects that exceeded cost estimations like the L.A. Metropolitan Transit Authority's Blue Line light rail, a project his commission oversaw, which resulted in costs more than three times the estimations. He also summons the spectre of Boston's excessively drawn out and expensive Big Dig.

The main argument stems from his comparison of the proposed California project and another high speed rail project running in between Washington D.C. and New York. He argues that demand is just not there on the east coast and that the west coast project is relying on an unrealistically high ridership to cover the enormous costs.

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Published on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 in Orange County Register
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