It looks like NYT has a major piece in infrastructure and it has provoked some serious thinking. Some of that can be found on Orphan Road, an excellent Seattle blog. Since California is in a commanding position to get a major slice of the first federal money for HSR, are there risks?
- California is currently sending out IOUs instead of checks
- everything is ultimately decided by popular initiative (Yes, I know. Just hang on.)
- no tax sentiment is deeply rooted in local culture
- geographic distances
- NIMBY and other wacko environmentalist opposition
OK, you get the picture.
UPDATE: California HSR project may bypass San Francisco. This AP story highlights the latest objections and another possible reason to avoid spending federal dollars in the ever-changing political quicksands of of the Golden State.
There are numerous “up” sides of the discussion as well.
- extreme highway congestion
- wel educated populace
- large population base essential for sufficient passenger volume
- vibrant transit systems at LA and in the Bay area
- vibrant business communities in destination cities
I think Chicago-St. Louis is the best first choice, but that has some risk/reward considerations as well. Anyway, for your holiday weekend, here is the conversation starter. I await your analysis.