The California senate voted on Friday to begin work on a bullet train:
(Reuters) – California lawmakers gave a nod of approval to a high-speed rail plan on Friday in a make-or-break vote for $8 billion in funding to start construction on a 130-mile section of track through the state’s central agricultural heartland.
I have to admit that I’m thoroughly perplexed by the fascination with mass transit in general and high speed rail in particular. I don’t understand the whole religion surrounding this thing.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Railroads, in their time, helped to build this country. They greatly reduced the time it took to get from one place to another and brought prosperity where ever they were built. My little town in Minnesota was a railroad town. Further, I love trains. I love watching ’em, I love pictures of ’em and I love going to see train museums.
However, I don’t think that this is a love of trains that’s driving this. I think it’s a combination of a couple of things:
- The “Green Movement”
- A desire to get people around more efficiently
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love efficiency. I would be very much in favor of supporting an infrastructure that was able to move more people in less time for less money. And if we can do that, I think that we should. Additionally, I resonate with the “efficiency” claims of the “Green Movement.”
In short, if we are, really, able to create a transportation model that gets people from here to there better than what we have now, and that includes cost, you have my vote.
So here’s the question:
How expensive would a train system have to be in order for the most liberal supporter say, “It’s just not worth it.”
Would it be $5.00 a ticket? Maybe $15? If the ticket were to cost, say $60, would you still support high speed rail?
Rails should work in high population density areas. In Europe train travel is comfortable, ubiquitous and taken for granted. In the US you should at least have some areas (including much of California) where train travel works. The problem is our culture is so built around the car that gas prices would have to rise quite a bit before people started to think in terms of trains. Not sure if long distance trains would work here, at least not unless fuel oil for planes increased dramatically.
Rails should work in high population density areas.
Right. Further, passenger rail requires expensive infrastructure that the United States doesn’t have in place. We’re built for freight, not passenger.
The problem is our culture is so built around the car that gas prices would have to rise quite a bit before people started to think in terms of trains.
There is certainly a culture issues here as well. I would LOVE to take a train from my block to my office. But I would have to drive to my train station, then walk to my office. And once in my office, I lose the flexibility required to shop, eat or get my kids from daycare or school.
I don’t know if we’ll ever solve the issue of, “How do I take a train to pick my kids up from school and get to karate?”
It is not even a question of whether high speed rail service is good . California cannot afford it . They can’t afford what ObamaCare will cost. The LA Times has an article on that today. This high speed rail project is another step in California’s death spiral . Sacramento will not control itself .
It is not even a question of whether high speed rail service is good . California cannot afford it . They can’t afford what ObamaCare will cost. The LA Times has an article on that today.
And THAT is my point.
No one doubts that trains have a potential. But they come with a cost. And what, to the liberal, is too much money to spend on trains?
Not just the per ride ticket price, but the massive massive subsidies required in the back.
I predict they will start this project and then with it fractionally completed, they will run out of money .
Some coincidences between ObamaCare and California’s Bullet Train . ObamaCare was sold as costing $ 900 Billion over 10 years . New estimates are $ 1.7 Trillion . I’ve seen much higher than that .
The Bullet train project was sold to California’s taxpayers for $ 33 Billion . Latest estimates are $ 100 Billion . Also certain Californian Congressmen were key votes for ObamaCare . Coincidently President Obama approved $ 3.5 Billion in Stimulus money .