J. Hansen 
Member since Sep 17, 2012


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Re: “High-Speed Rail Is Definitely Green

HSR can be both green and a boondoggle. That appears to be just what the current plan is. It's not going to accomplish much toward moving people between the Bay Area & So Cal population centers by running from Merced to Fresno. We don't need a sixty mile test section, use the technology already developed and used by: Japan (since 1964), Italy (1978), France(1981), Germany, Netherlands, Belgium , Austria, Switzerland, Denmark (1991). For anyone who thinks "we" can do it better just remember the disastrous Boing/Vertol trolly cars in SF circa 1980, how unreliable they were and how quickly they were replaced with better equipment from Italy.

If we're going to borrow from wealthy individuals (providing them tax free income) and private wealth pools, let's borrow enough of their wealth to fund the whole thing. With interest rates as low as they're likely to be, it will only become more expensive. A better solution would be to pay for the project via taxation even though we know that would set Howard Jarvis spinning in his grave and his acolytes into full blockage mode.

If it's such a good idea let's complete the project from San Diego to the Bay area, with links to Sacto and points north. If those in Redding are paying they deserve service too. Better yet, push our large Congressional delegation to acquire a majority of the project funding from the Federal government, diverting a portion of it's spending on military adventures while returning to California some of the money we provide in excess of what we receive from the D.C. project. Then turn those military hardware/software pirates loose, let them achieve their profit goals by providing HSR along with those satellite air traffic control systems they're so fond of or... not at all. Like anything with a long time horizon, the idea that this could be a work in progress 50 years from now, with Sacto finally linked to Bakersfield is not likely to resonate with those expected to pay for it. With the current slack in the labor force this seems an opportunity to move as China has with some of it's HSR projects or as the U.S. did in the slack labor markets of the 1930s - put tens of thousands to work, the income generated by worker spending and it's multiplier would be a great boost to the state's economy, assuming of course that local firms and workers are employed.

Finally, this should be part of a larger HSR network, at least up & down the east and west coasts. It's time to either fish or cut bait on HSR, "fund it now or forget it." This is in no way an attempt to deny Mr. Pringle's argument, rather to suggest that the environmental issues aren't the only ones worthy of consideration and that after 30 years of state & local government strangulation at the hands of Prop 13, costs and how to pay them are too important to put aside for later resolution.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by J. Hansen on 09/17/2012 at 12:09 PM

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