Tag Archives: High Speed Rail

California’s Bullet Train Folley

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:

  1. The “Green Movement”
  2. 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?

California HIgh Speed Rail Costs Lots Of Money

I know this is gonna shock a TON of people.

Environmental reports released Tuesday show the first segment of the line in the Central Valley will cost between $10 billion and $13.9 billion, far more than the 2009 estimate of $7.1 billion.

I know I’m surprised.  I had expected California to come in under budget; ’cause all such projects do, really, come in under budget.

The thing about the Liberati when it comes to central planning projects like this is that they never consider the cost.  Would it be cool if I could take a train that ran on the coffee grounds I brew each morning?  Ride a train that took me to a station a meager few blocks from my office?


Would it still be cool if the state had to pay $8,542 per round-trip ticket?

Still think it’s a good idea?

Me either.

North Carolina Rail

North Carolina is interested in building out it’s light rail infrastructure.  And, in those places that make sense, it should.

For example, if there is a destination that has significant traffic, it might make sense to install some form of rail service to alleviate traffic or even draw revenue.

The problem with such plans?  Trains have to run on tracks.  And tracks are both expensive to build and impossible to move.  They are where they are and nothing can be done concerning the “ad hoc” needs of commuters.

So rail planning HAS to rely on data, good data, well thought out data aboiut the goals and ability to meet ’em.

Most, including the News And Observer, don’t do their due diligence.

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North Carolina High Speed Rail

North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue recently Tweeted on a blog entry regarding North Carolina High Speed rail:

Today, NCDOT’s Rail Division officially received the first $20.3 million of the $545 million allocated to our state for high-speed rail improvements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. North Carolina was granted the sixth highest award to any state as part of President Obama’s high-speed rail plan, demonstrating the growing strength of our rail program.

Jeez.  Here we go…

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