Contributing Monkie G Monkie
Published on July 22, 2009
Imagine traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles in about two-and-a-half hours, without getting on a plane. Soon, you wont have to imagine. With California voters and President Obama both pushing the project forward, we may soon see the work actually starting on the new tracks and other infrastructure.
Here is what Obama said in May 2009. “My high-speed rail proposal will lead to innovations that change the way we travel in America. We must start developing clean, energy-efficient transportation that will define our regions for centuries to come,” said President Obama. “A major new high-speed rail line will generate many thousands of construction jobs over several years, as well as permanent jobs for rail employees and increased economic activity in the destinations these trains serve. High-speed rail is long-overdue, and this plan lets American travelers know that they are not doomed to a future of long lines at the airports or jammed cars on the highways.”
In this QUEST Web exclusive, we update a story we did last year on a plan to bring high-speed rail to California as voters head to the ballot boxes to decide the fate of Proposition 1A. Hop aboard to learn about the science behind high-speed rail travel and the obstacles that lie in its path.
Checkout the official website for California’s High Speed Rail Projects. cahighspeedrail.ca.gov
Here are some of the facts about High Speed Rail:
The statewide high-speed train project will require us to draw upon and expand California’s skilled workforce, creating nearly 160,000 construction-related jobs to plan, design and build the system. An additional 450,000 permanent jobs are expected to be created by 2035 as a result of the economic growth the train system will bring to California. High speed trains will further boost California’s economy by:
Improving the movement of people, goods and services throughout the state;
Generating more than $1 billion in annual revenue surplus;
Reducing travel times for train riders;
Reducing delays to air and auto travelers as freeways and airports are relieved of congestion;
Reducing air pollution and related health care costs;
Reducing auto accident fatalities and injuries and related health care costs.
California has three of the top five most congested urban areas in the United States. Right now, congestion costs approximately $20 billion per year in wasted fuel and lost time. What would be the cost of expanding our highways and airports to meet future intercity demands instead of building the high-speed train system?
To serve the same number of travelers as the high-speed train system, California would have to build nearly 3,000 lane-miles of freeway plus five airport runways and 90 departure gates by 2020 – costing more than twice the high-speed train system and having much greater environmental impacts. What’s more, the proposed high-speed train system will provide lower passenger costs than for travel by automobile or air for the same city-to-city markets.