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A train to nowhere?

Original post made on Jan 13, 2012

In this week's [Web Link Raucous Caucus], educator and recruiter Tom Cushing discusses California's high speed rail project, including fundamentals he takes issue with. "If the state and the feds are going to invest society's dollars...I want it to be truly visionary, cutting-edge stuff," writes Cushing, who is put off by the annual personnel costs and lack of new technology.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 1:43 PM

Comments (4)

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Posted by Dick K
a resident of Alamo
on Jan 13, 2012 at 7:16 am

Tom is right on. We are wasting billions just to put in a system without new technology that no one will ride. It's the steam engine of bullet trains. Take a look at for an alternative that at least bears greater scrutiny.

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Posted by Lean Forward
a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm

So if cybertran existed today and I got on one tonight to LA would I get there a week from Thursday?

Is it possible you're comparing a bicycle to a Lear jet?

It's rather simple, you can put in 21st century infrastructure which scoots your expanding population and workforce from bedroom communities that are attractive for their lower cost, yet within reach of the work centers via HSR.

Or you build more dead-ender commuter roadways. Which are parking lots 6 hours out of the day while people sit in their cars killing productive and family time while ingesting all manner of unhealthy exhaust emissions. Growing populations must remain within smallish radii of the work centers in order to commute.

So let's say you're the next Google and you're picking a site for your world headquarters. You have a clean sheet of paper. Do you go with China or western Europe where high speed connected infrastructure moves your workforce around or do you go with the good old wrapped in the flag USA which likes to run a daily slow motion rat race in the I-580 and 880 corridors?

Anybody looking at that project and thinking waiting for it to be more expensive to build is the way to go? Figuring right of way will be cheaper in 20 more years? Anyone thinking our mostly 1 per car commuter gig that we have now will compete just fine in the global econoy with the $10/gal gas that is probably a decade or less away?

Sorry, but if you think we're all suddenly going to be jumping to a Prius by 2025 you're not making much of a case for visionary skills.

If you're thinking air travel is the answer, ask yourself what are the mountains of hurdles one must get over to build a new airport these days. Most of the current ones have gate shortages as it is.

Number of miles of HSR built in the last decade:

China - 6,000 miles, expanding to 16,000 miles by 2015
USA - zip, zero, nada

China now moves nearly 800,000 people per day on their HSR which has been in existence for less than 5 years. While the early portions of their system were built with imported product, they have embarked on a massive ground up build of an industry and now design and build their HSR needs domestically.

Anybody got any bright ideas for bringing manufacturing back to the US? I can think of one.

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Danville
on Jan 16, 2012 at 11:40 am

California and the US needs high-speed rail, along with a serious national energy program to get off of the oil addiction and create massive alternative energy sources.

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Posted by Frankly
a resident of San Ramon
on Jan 27, 2012 at 6:42 am

To use China, where the population is in the billions,is not a very good comparison for the USA or even California.

Plus anywhere else, people have options when they arrive somewhere for public transportation without the constant poor management or lack of maintenance as is often found in the USA.

The high speed train is backed by Jerry Brown to put his name into the history books as did his father who sold out northern California clean, fresh waters to Southern California about which we in the north often complain about.

You will often find that politicians will seek some massive project to certify their name into the history books as the founder of same. The massive billion dollar over run construction tunnel in the Boston area to merely make commute easier and faster by the late Senator Kennedy is another example of this fame seeking DNA found among these politicians.

Do we know by some measure how many people move from north to south on any daily bases?

Does current economy provide for more wasteful projects?

Do more people have to be taxed for more wasteful projects?

Even if there was a faster then speeding bullet trains, will that take cars off the road?
No, because once train users arrive, they will need more vehicles to move about either by renting cars or using more taxes!!!!

Once you move all these fast train passengers, how do you move them once they arrive? This country does not provide for that kind of transportation except public transportation which is not designed to move people in many tangent directions as does a vehicle.

So forget the fast anything till better public transportation is in place.

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