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.