Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

America needs California High-Speed Rail

In case you haven’t been reading Robert Cruickshank’s excellent California High Speed Rail Blog, California has the country’s most important rail plan going on the ballot for its initial bond funding measure this November. The route has been finalized, construction priorities more or less worked out, and it even has Arnold’s endorsement. The stage is set for a big victory for America’s railways in November (regardless of what happens in that other race).

And yes, I said America’s railways, not just California’s. The project is already high profile, and once the San Francisco-LA spine gets built, you can bet it will attract more attention. This is precisely because the project is so ambitious. Like the French TGV, it will operate on its own electrified high-speed right of way, with its own new rolling stock. If the project succeeds, lawmakers and citizens from other parts of the country won’t have to look to Japan and Europe to see a “true” high-speed train serving the public. When travelers go to California and see HSR in action, they’ll go home and start saying “I’m sick of high gas costs and expensive airline tickets… why can’t we have a train like this in my state?”

Certainly not every state needs to have a system as groundbreaking as CAHSR, but California’s project would go a long way towards making people realize that rail can be a practical solution, not some pie in the sky ideal or archaic technology with only a whimsical value. If California rejects the funding measure, and the line doesn’t get built, the movement for high-speed rail will lose much of its wind. The CAHSR project is the epitome of what America needs right now, and if California can’t be forward thinking enough to build it, no one else will be there to lead the charge.

So, basically: Yes on prop 1!


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

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July 2008