Friday, July 6, 2012

Is That A Meteor Heading for California?

Is that a bird, or a plane, no it's High-Speed Rail

No, it’s High-Speed Rail (HSR). Yesterday, July 5th, 2012 the California Assembly passed by a partisan vote of 51-27, the authorization to sell $4.5 billion in state bonds to finally get the HSR going. This begins the state’s ability to sell the 2008 voter approved bonds and also allocates another $1.9 billion for regional rail improvements in Northern and Southern California (which were just unashamedly bribes to the various assembly and senate districts). It is a shell game where Jerry Brown is pointing to the local issues making sure you don’t see what his other hand is doing.

Readers of this missive know quite well my standing on this whole concept of adults finally getting the train set their parents never let them have. Someday when this whole venture comes crashing down due to lack of riders, the massive subsidies, the high cost of electricity and maintenance, all these fine ladies and gentlemen will be long gone. The people of California just stand in awe of their legislature’s disconnection from reality. It’s nineteenth century technology for Pete’s sake, can’t we do better?

If you want to or have to spend the money in California why not where it will do the most good structurally and economically, think locally not regionally.

How about these:

A mid San Francisco Bay bridge crossing from airport to airport that will eliminate substantial numbers of cars on the Bay Bridge and keep them out of the downtowns of Oakland and San Francisco. The Bay Area is shifting south and this would help traffic immensely as well as spur growth.

Build BART extensions to Tracy and Gilroy and add a new cross Bay connection on the bridge noted above.

Expand all major California airports with at least one new runway and multiple jet ports using the newest technologies for safety and air control. Expand urban rail connections to most of them. No matter how you dice it, air is faster than HSR.

Increase and support the advancement of high-speed automobile control systems that will utilize the existing freeway infrastructure. This is what Google is doing with its driverless car (GO HERE). I know it’s spooky but then again I still can’t believe that a 747 can get off the ground and end up in England 10 hours later, but I have faith every time I climb on board. Imagine low tech systems that use existing freeways where specific lanes are set to allow “rubber” tired low tech, natural gas powered buses and cars, to move around the state at higher speeds. Probably accomplished by a lot fewer dollars and paid for by the user through taxes on natural gas.

But then again a new train set is a lot more fun.

Stay Tuned . . . . .

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