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Original post made
on Aug 10, 2011
Public projects like this are a huge waste of money because they fail the test of financial sustainability.
With the recent China disaster, proponents can no longer claim no deaths from HSR.
First, the news that ridership estimates may have been exaggerated, now there likely will be cost overruns. It's reassuring to know that some things will always remain constant.
It's been clear for some time to many that this project was way oversold as far as riders were concerned and way under sold as far as cost were concerned. As time goes reality sets in and now it's clear to most people that the costs will end up at $80B or more and the money to build it will never happen. I have a little bit of disgust for the people that sold this project as a bond issue of around $9B. Let's cancel this project before any more money is wasted.
not you specifically, but all my HSR-dreamer friends with visions of a 200mph bullet train connecting all parts of California. I told them before the election that the cost would be an order of magnitude more than the bond measure, the federal funds would not come through (or be much smaller than anticipated), the ridership projections were too rosy, the peninsula communities would file lawsuits to stop it and that a vote in favor of HSR was simply a vote for spending a few billion on environmental studies and lawsuits until we came to the realization we could not afford it. Looking more and more to be the case.
And let's not forget how much time, energy and money the Mountain View City Council wasted studying this bundle of lie.
Though not in favor of HSR as a mass transit project, I do think that even a portion of the money that has been dedicated to it would be better invested in local mass transit projects.
Concentrated funds used for smaller/regional, lower risk projects that address local transit problems is the better way to go. By concentrating where we have a high density of people, cars, and businesses, we get more bang for the buck with mass transit improvements.
And not all this money should be spent on mass transit alone, but on the infrastructure that will promote mass transit adoption, like city planning that encourages the development of high density housing and businesses close to mass transit hubs, to allow people to live as locally as possible, and minimize the use of cars.
Let's remember that like it or not, the US is a culture based around the automobile. To change that culture is going to require steady investments that will transition us to a less car-centric society. The idea that a Hail-Mary effort like the HSR is going to solve our car problems is naive at best.
Of course this is all cart before the horse, California needs to get its fiscal house in order, before it even considers spending any large sums of money.
High speed rail is another expense that Congress will cut. Good riddance.
I am as hardcore of a car guy as they come: I own a high performance vehicle that I track regularly, am involved in a car club and I only buy manual transmissions. Essentially you will be hard pressed to find a more pro-car person than me. However, I cannot for the life of me comprehend people that are against investing more money in public transit. You think that the HSR costs are high? What are the comparable costs of maintaining and sustaining highways to support expected population growths?
HSR is not a luxury. It is not a pet project. It is a MUST-investment to bring California out of the 1800s when it comes to its rail system. To the detractors of HSR: Have you ever had the pleasure and convenience of using the french TGV as opposite to the nightmare of going to the airport? We are falling behind every major economy in terms of infrastructure investment: the Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, French and German have HSR... As oil price increases, we cannot afford to be left behind.
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