Los Angeles and San Francisco are, thanks to a bill passed today in California's legislature, getting a high-speed rail line. From the AP article:
"No economy can grow faster than its transportation network allows," U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement applauding the legislative vote. "With highways between California cities congested and airspace at a premium, Californians desperately need an alternative."
Governor Jerry Brown hasn't yet signed the bill, but he lobbied in support of the bill, so it's unlikely he'll veto it.
The first stretch of the track scheduled to go down is going between Madera and Bakersfield. And since I have no idea where those places are, I assume my readers don't, either. Here's a reference picture:
So, it looks like it covers about a third of the total distance the rail will, ultimately, service.
The decision was not without its critics:
Republicans blasted the Senate decision, citing the state's ongoing budget problems.
"It's unfortunate that the majority would rather spend billions of dollars that we don't have for a train to nowhere than keep schools open and harmless from budget cuts," Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, said in a statement.
Budget cuts which I doubt Democrats are pushing through -- and what does it say about Sen. Tom Harman's sense of his state that he feels that Los Angeles and San Francisco both qualify, as destinations, as "nowhere"?
This is exactly the kind of project our country needs. The AP article unfortunately does not make any statements about the intended speed of the train, but if it's much like the ones in Japan, China, Taiwan or Germany, the max speed of 300 mph, passing through Bakersfield and Medira, puts the 400 mile trip at less than an hour and a half. It's a seven hour drive, and I don't care how fast a plane is -- it takes longer than two hours to get on and off one.
Apart from that, high speed rail is less gas-heavy than airplanes, and has a lot of potential to run on clean energy. I am in favor of everything about this project.
Now we just need rails across the country and up and down the east coast. Then put in vertical farms, and we can let the rest of the country drift back to wilderness.