Planetizen - Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education

San Diego's Omission from High-Speed Rail: Customary Curse or Blessing in Disguise?

Is California's High-Speed Rail (HSR) a "boondoggle" for the state, as its critics assert, or just a boondoggle for omitted cities? How should such cities deal with omission from HSR? San Diego is a case in point.
April 7, 2013, 1pm PDT | wadams92101
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

Land use attorney Bill Adams looks at San Diego's omission from California High-Speed Rail Phase 1, and a very uncertain and far-off Phase 2, in the context of the region's history and reaches some disturbing conclusions: 

"In the late 1800s, San Diego lost the race with Los Angeles to become the western terminus of a transcontinental railroad.  As a result, despite some sound accomplishments, San Diego never matched its northern rivals in economic growth & prosperity. . ."

"Now comes San Diego’s omission from “Phase 1″ of the High Speed Rail project.  Upon completion of HSR, rail travel between Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay area will take the same or less time than between San Diego and Los Angeles despite being more than three times further apart. . ."

"Many of the City’s elected representatives have focused more on concerns about the overall economics of the project (many calling it a 'boondoggle'), while others have remained ambivalent."

However, Bill Adams goes on to note that there may be opportunities in the omission from Phase 1 if there is the political will to pursue them:  

"[C]ould San Diego’s omission from the HSR Phase 1 have been made into a blessing, or at least largely offset, by securing even greater investment in the existing rail corridor? Perhaps the corridor could even be made to accommodate the 'higher-speed' Acela Express range of 80 to 110 mph? Perhaps a much needed direct airport-to-airport connection could be accomplished. After all, the existing rail route is far shorter and more direct, straight, and shorter than that proposed for the HSR Phase 2 route winding its way through the Inland Empire region. . . it begs the question what might be accomplished with more imperative and support?"

Full Story:
Published on Saturday, April 6, 2013 in
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email