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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Proposal for CA high speed rail flawed - why?

California does not need high speed rail. It is simply a big MASSIVE FED/ STATE Spending boondoogle which may temporarily put to work 10,000-20,000 highly paid union construction workers( most of the work will be done by digging/other earth mover equipment). After that rail system is completed and the jobs are drastically reduced, say the proposed line from LA to San Francisco, there will not be much demand for the service at normal free-market rail rates.
There is not much demand in CA for rail service anywhere in CA. Amtrak trains are little-used in CA, as is the Greyhound buses. CA folks are wedded to their cars and simply will not take the time, planning, and effort to take a bus or their autos to the rail station at union station in LA, have the cars kept there in a paid garage or fee parking lot, and hop on a train to Frisco. Unless it is deeply discounted at gov-subsidized rates. Therefore if the public is only beguiled into taking these high speed trains by subsided cheap rates then these rails will end up being public financial disasters and money-losing drains upon the taxpayers.
I know for a fact that the money-losing heavily subsidized Amtrak railways are rarely used here in LA/SoCal due to folks here being addicted to their cars. I have only used Amtrak 2-3 times in my 45 years here in los Angeles. Why? I like my auto as it is quick, convenient, and as long as gas is priced at under 3.00-3.50/gal it is reasonably priced transport to go anywhere in CA.
Only if gas prices shoot up to $4-5.00/gal, and even approach the rates paid by Europeans, and stay there for a long time you may see a dramatic shift in demand for Local, regional, and interstate rail service. LA has a halfway-decent network Of CITY METRO RAIL BUT MOST FOLK DO NOT USE THEM. THEY ARE ONLY USED BY POOR INNER CITY PPL/RECENT IMMIGRANTS, TEENS, AND BY A VERY FEW MIDDLE CLASS COMMUTERS. I live a 20 minite walk from the blue line metro station(long Beach to DTWN Los Angeles) but have only used it 10 times in my life(5 of those times my truck was in the shop).
I simply prefer the ease and convenience of getting into my pickup and swiftly traveling anywhere in SoCal, using the famous(and often jammed) SoCal freeway arteries, and being able to go directly to my destination. And i am not alone. Every SoCal household has 2-4 autos, perhaps one for every family member, and this fact means that CA rail service, at least from a SoCAL standpoint, will never be popular.

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