For all the money being spent on high-speed rail, Griffin reports that the only high-speed rail line that’s actually being built is the California corridor between San Francisco and Los Angeles (eventually, anyway) that runs along and over the San Andreas Fault, which by-the-by is overdue for a massive earthquake. I’ve included a few links below to remind readers just how well that project has gone over the last few years. Don’t forget that the first service on this line if and when it starts at all — and after billions of dollars have been spent — will be to connect the huge metropolitan areas of Bakersfield and, er, somewhere near Fresno. When it’s complete, California and the US will have spent over $100 billion in order to create a subsidized transportation system to connect two cities in a trip that takes about three times as long as air travel does.
Buh-buh-but what about all those great public works projects of the past, like the Transcontinental Railroad and the TVA?
The Transcontinental Railroad provided something the nation needed – a quick and relatively cheap way to connect the eastern and western halves of the country. In return the government gave away land that was virtually worthless without a railroad servicing it. Once built, the railroads saw heavy use and made huge profits – what some people thought were excessive profits.
The Tennessee Valley Authority and other hydroelectric projects provided three things: irrigation, flood control and cheap electricity. They more than paid for themselves.
So what will the high-speed rail provide? We already have quick and cheap transportation between Los Angeles and San Francisco. You can fly or drive, depending on your plans and budget. The flight itself takes about an hour, not counting all the rigamarol of getting to the airport, checking in, TSA groping, boarding, taxiing, take-off, landing, taxiing, embarking, finding your luggage and leaving the airport for your ultimate destination.
Or you can drive and go straight from point A to point B, but you’ll have to deal with crowded freeways, construction zones, trucks and unrealistically low speed limits enforced by humorless CHP officers. Another option is the bus, which means riding with ex-cons and Who’s Who in Mental Illness. A high-speed rail will take longer than flying but will be quicker than driving. Cost estimates are kinda sketchy but if it’s anything like BART or Amtrak it won’t be cheap.
We don’t need a high-speed rail. There is really no market for one. Even when it’s built it will probably operate at a loss. I live in one of the towns the HSR will pass thru but I’m guessing it won’t stop here because if it makes a lot of stops it won’t be “high speed”. We already have Amtrak, and it loses money.