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Readers Comment: Is California's Bullet Train a Blessing or a Boondoggle?

Where do you stand on the issue of the nation's first high-speed rail project?

California voters approved Prop 1A in 2008 to partly fund the nation's first-ever High-Speed Rail, a Japan-style bullet train that would  travel up to 220 mph in urban areas and 180 mph in rural areas between Los Angeles and San Francisco in about two and a half hours.

A story that we posted about Gov. Jerry Brown's endorsement Wednesday of a bill aimed at providing the first phase of funding for the $68 billion project elicited some pointed and passionate comments from readers. Two of them—a comment and a counter-comment—are worth repeating, not least because they articulately echo the arguments for and against this inordinately delayed and extraordinarily expensive project that some see as an environmental and infrastructural blessing that is long overdue, but others view as an outrageous transportation boondoggle. 

Commentator Bob G had this to say about Gov. Brown's pet project:

If the money could be spent on conventional rail projects rather than one that is comparable to a "high-speed bridge to nowhere", it would be better spent! 
Conventional rail is an important transportation alternative (both freight and passenger) that gets minimal funding.

Who is going to travel to Bakersfield or Madera to get from LA to San Francisco? No one I know. Are there a bunch of people wanting to travel between Bakersfield and Madera at any speed - I think not.

I do support high speed rail. But this approach is ludicrous.

Commentator John had this response to the project's critics:

You voted for it. The funds are coming from a bond issue. If you want roads, schools and firemen with 80 percent pensions, vote for them.

Let's face it, we can burn 40 pounds of fuel apiece each week to drive alone in a 3000 pound steel box, but only for the next 50 years or so. This train will be built, whether in the next 20 years or 50 years. Might as well get started.

nonoise July 22, 2012 at 09:29 PM
This is a bad joke. Another bad spending idea. A bullet train to Las Vegas would probly make more sense since more people go there than anywhere else. This is the biggest waste of money. Voters that voted for this need to get educated! A test should be required before one is allowed to vote.
bbkong September 04, 2012 at 09:02 PM
A bullet train to Vegas is a non-starter. Why make it easier for Californians to spend their money in Nevada? If anything, Nevada should build a bullet train to LA. A bullet to SF-Sac is another story. It would promote and help expand business ties between the north and south parts of the state and reduce highway deaths on the 5, which has to be the most godawful boring and dangerous highway in California.

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