Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Californian looking ahead

Michael Fitzgerald’s, a columnist featured in has some insight into the California movement, halting as it is, for HSR. It’s a great opinion piece, and here is a highlight.

To sum up opponents’ arguments: $40 billion, doubts about ridership, no private money forthcoming. Higher priorities, like water for Southern California.

The call for private investment is puzzling. This is not a dam primarily benefiting special interests. This is public transportation, serving Sacramento, the Bay Area, the Central Valley and Southern California. Do leaders require private capital to build freeways?

Also puzzling, considering California’s projected growth, is the notion that high-speed rail is a luxury.

Statewide, the cost of upgrading the highways and airports will be two or three times greater than high-speed rail, said Carrie Pourvahidi, the Rail Authority’s deputy director.

“How can you not afford to do it?” Pourvahidi asked.

Besides whooshing from Stockton to San Francisco over the Altamont in 45 minutes, restoring sanity to 50,000 road-weary commuters, the line’s construction will bring jobs.

But the biggest economic benefit of a line projected to carry 117 million people is the number of riders via Stockton – the equivalent of having a freeway come through.

Filed under: Passenger Rail Politics, United States High Speed Rail

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September 2007


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