Skip to comments.California High Speed Rail Is Going Nowhere Fast (WashingtonCompost Gets It Right Alert)
Posted on 11/14/2011 11:15:10 PM PST by goldstategop
More realistically, Sacramentos Legislative Analysis Office calls the Central Valley starting point a big gamble. In the all-too-likely event that funding for the rest of the system never materializes, the report adds, the state will be left with a rail segment unconnected to major urban areas that has little if any chance of generating the ridership to operate without a significant state subsidy. It would be a train to nowhere, but at least it would go nowhere fast.
As questionable as this project is, we would have less business objecting if the only money at risk was Californias. But the Obama and Brown administrations are talking about devoting the nations funds to what looks more and more like a boondoggle. If the President and Governor wont slam on the brakes, then Congress or the California legislature must find a way to prevent the spending. Somebody, please, stop this train.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Common sense from the liberal media. Who knew!
"Alas, there is only one place where the state could finish the necessary environmental impact statements and other bureaucratic requirements before the use-it-or-lose-it date: a thinly populated 130-mile stretch of flatland that starts just north of Fresno and ends just north of Bakersfield."
They have to build it where no one will ever ride it or they will lose the federal kitty. The bureaucratic imagination at work. I love government's rationale for incomprehensible mega construction projects, especially when they have no connection to reality whatsoever. Somewhere, Willie Green is stringing his harp.
Coincidentally, national elections are scheduled 30 days after the ground breaking ceremony for the Rube Goldberg Limited.
Willie Green is gone and the Post loses their love for trains. Coincidence? I think not.
WHERE would high-speed rail best serve? Surprisingly not from suburbs to city centers, but from one airport center to another. Take two nearby busy airports, say like Orlando and Tampa, and use the rail to connect them. There is considerable traffic from Orlando to Tampa, and vice versa, now largely supplied by automobile or shuttle buses. One only need look at the situation on I-4, which has been successively widened several times, yet is at near full capacity only a couple of years since the previous effort to reconstruct the corridor.
It is far too costly and inefficient to take air between these two cities, as hardly has a plane risen from one landing strip before it taxis to a halt before the other terminal. There is far more time spent processing through the passengers, from arrival, parking, check-in, through screening, boarding, waiting for clearance, then the few short minutes actually in air, to the reverse procedure of deplaning, going to baggage check, and finding ground transportation. It makes FAR more sense in terms of time and dollars to simply drive the distance.
If California were to use the corridor between LA and San Francisco airports, rather than to make pickup stops from inland points to city centers on the coast, it would make more sense, and stand some chance of becoming economically viable. Once this corridor is in use, then profits from its operation could be used to extend further, to San Diego and Portland, and eventually Seattle, reducing air traffic and providing fast, reliable service competitive in time and price to airplane travel. But it could not be built or operated by depending on subsidies, or it would surely wither and never reach potential.
It would be a little tougher to make the case for Las Vegas, Reno, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Denver, but still possible. Only if fueled with private investments with a respectable return on investment, though.
They sneered at Florida Governor Rick Scott when he turned down the Federal money to fund this kind of boondoggle in Florida. He knew it would end up like this but took a lot of flak from greedy and corrupt politicians and their cronies.
Someone, somewhere may intend these rail projects to be useful and fill a real need. But corrupt politicians and bureaucrats know their real value is in the huge amounts of money that can be scammed, skimmed, spent to enrich pals and doners and used to buy future patronage.
Without big amounts of federal government cash flowing there is nothing to steal.
They don’t care if the rail system ever gets built or if it is built in the wrong place. The idea is to get the money flowing so it can be made to disappear into the right pockets.
Once again my old tagline says it all.
Take two nearby busy airports, say like Orlando and Tampa, and use the rail to connect them.
Even with a best case like that the cost to drive is equivalent to the cost to go by rail (even discounting the rail construction costs) when you use real ridership numbers , automobiles are inherently more efficient because they only run when occupied...
I do like the idea of connecting major (class B and C) airports within say a 100 mile radius as that would impact air ticket prices.
The high speed train is a good idea—BUT not now when California is Broke! This should be done—AFTER everything is paid off and there is extra money. It shouldn’t be funded by the Government but Private funds (Like a high speed train from LA to Las Vegas or Sacramento to Reno). These trains need to pay for themselves. Idea good—timing poor indeed.
It's the right idea, but there is far too much built up real-estate on either end - mostly owned by the kind of NIMBY limousine liberal who invented the "Environmental Impact Report" in the first place. Every liberal thinks high-speed rail is a great idea, as long as they don't have to see it, hear it, or drive across its tracks.
There is really no substitute for improved air service between SF and LA, especially using regional jets between new city pairs like Walnut Creek and Orange County or Moffett Field and Burbank. The NIMBYs will scream about that, too, but not half as much as they will about having a 200 mph train pass by their backyards five times a day. :)
In a best case like that you would get plenty of riders if you paid attention to things like how to get from the from the station to the final destination. Many cities have the train station near the center of the old downtown business/industrial district, and limited parking near the station. Often the station is in a higher crime area where leaving a vehicle unsecured is inadvisable, especially for periods of more than a few hours. If someone cannot get from the train station to the office where they work, why take the train? Another problem for many of these rail schedules is when the trains are at the smaller stations, 3AM is an inconvenient time to get to the station to get on the train and an equally inconvenient time to arrive. Putting the train station near the airport would help many of these problems.