California is one of the fore runner states where experts have been working for years on a high-speed rail plan. A trip from LA to SF in two and half hours would be pretty sweet, even if it’s actually my children who take the ride on their way to college. How much will it cost? Why are you even asking? Remember that woman on The Today Show asking for financial advice? Seems she rang up debt on her credits cards to the tune of $80,000 buying crap she doesn’t need. This is something like that. A number you can’t really fathom reaching extended by institutions you’d think would have a better plan to get their money back.
In 1930, the U.S. had 260,000 miles of rail. By 2000, that total had been reduced to 100,000 miles — the same as in 1881. High-speed rail travel in the U.S. will be impossible without expensive new trains, tracks, signals, crossings and gates. “We wouldn’t have an interstate highway system if there weren’t an involvement from the government, and it still took us three decades to do it,” says Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. “That’s how you should look at high-speed rail.” [Source: The Week August 7, 2009]
Really, is that that how I should look at it? How about I look at the construction of the interstate system as the central reason for the demise of rail. All those trucks finally got round trip tickets to anywhere-ville USA while the car companies and oil were killing the trolley.
How about I look at the interstate as the bow tie to an already tailored tux of fully developed infrastructure that moved cars and trucks through towns. When the interstate was added, roads, byways and highways were established. We simply needed the pretty, country wide loops to top off the outfit.
Oh, oh, I got one. How about I look at what it would take to drive to the one high-speed rail station in LA. Ever hear of traffic with no trolleys? By the time this system gets built, airplanes will be running on bio-algae-fuel and traffic will be so crippling, you’ll never want to drive to that speed rail station. Planes trips will most likely cost less, get their quicker and have more taking off points making them far more efficient for travel. Look, I’m a big fan of rail and would love to see it come to my town. But without the rest of the infrastructure to get us all there, it’s going to be one big circle jerk unless you live in downtown LA.