Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Working With What You Have

I am not 100% enthusiastic about Proposition 1A, the California High-Speed Rail Bond. Specifically, I think the route choice over Pacheco Pass is wrong, and will, 50 years from now, be seen as a short-sighted mistake. The main reason the route was chosen was to pander to San Jose-area politicians who couldn't bear the thought of their city not being a stop for every single train. As I've said before, I, like most transit advocates, favored the Altamont Pass routing, through Niles Canyon and Fremont, across the Dumbarton Bridge, with some trains heading north to San Francisco and others south to San Jose. (Alternatively, trains could split south at Fremont, and some would go to Oakland as well; the specifics don't worry me on that one.)

In addition, the Altamont route would have served more populated areas of the Central Valley. Others have said, "Oh, the route has to stay away from populated areas because the purpose is to transport people between LA and San Jose/San Francisco," but I disagree with that. While not every train would stop at every station (another mistake people seem to make), having intermediate stations along the route makes the total route more useful, not just something handy for the Bay Area and LA. (In fact, if it were only useful for those two areas, I'd oppose the project.)

Is the CHSR the best route? Probably not, in my opinion. But the perfect is the enemy of the good, and if we don't get started, we'll never get anywhere. I'm going to vote for 1A anyway, even though I think it could have been better.
Tags: high speed rail, politics, trains

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