California Needs High Speed Rail

Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood talk about high speed rail expansion while traveling from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, PA on an Amtrak Acela train, February 7, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood talk about high speed rail expansion while traveling from Washington, D.C. to Philadelphia, PA on an Amtrak Acela train, February 7, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

It’s a holiday weekend and the highways will be jammed and the airports full.  Enjoy that middle seat in coach.  After experiencing the joy of traveling via high speed rail in Europe last week, I’d just like to know why its taking so long in California.

We’re warned about long lines and spotty service of inter-country flights in Europe and instead opted to use high speed trains from Budapest to Venice via Salzburg.  The train stations didn’t require a security check or the removal of shoes, the seats on the train were much more spacious and comfortable than coach on a jet and the view out the window was spectacular.  Free WiFi on the train let me craft some posts for the blog last week and get caught up on email.  The dining car had wonderful options for a light dinner. My only real complaint, not enough storage space for luggage and everyone had big suitcases.  That’s a very fixable problem.

We need this in California.

The trains rumbled along at 240 km/hour, stopped infrequently and made traveling a real pleasure.  For the red-eye to Venice, we had a cabin with beds.  Try that on Southwest.  Imagine connections to Union Station in LA, ARTIC in Anaheim to Santa Barbara, San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento (Las Vegas? Please?) would be a cheaper and better alternative to driving or flying and a far more reliable means of mass transit.

And yes, high speed rail will be an expensive proposition but one that would create thousands of good paying jobs for construction, new jobs for operations and maintenance and new economic engines to connect key cities in California for travel.  It’s a worthwhile use of tax dollars to make this happen.

  2 comments for “California Needs High Speed Rail

  1. Ltpar
    July 1, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Just another Jerry Brown boondoggle that will never be finished because of major cost. If it were built, how much would the California taxpayers have to pay to subsidize it? It was a bad idea when proposed, a worse idea now and will be a financial disaster in the future. Of course, you Democrats never met a “white elephant” project you didn’t love.

  2. John Jaeger
    July 11, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    “It’s a worthwhile use of tax dollars to make this happen.” – Dan C.

    Oh please. You liberals are very liberal with other people’s money.
    Public transportation generally collects 10% or less of the cost to provide it. Rail boondoggles are particularly foolish wastes of money. The costs are conveniently underestimated by liberals with axes to grind, while the revenues and benefits are always overstated. If liberals couldn’t lie, they would be speechless.
    Larry Agran’s $130,000,000 boondoggle iShuttle runs empty buses all day long from OC Airport to the Amtrak train station in Tustin. It collects less than 1% of its operating cost, not that Larry or any liberal anywhere would give a rip.

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