On board with the high-speed rail
To the Editor:
It looks like the High-Speed Railroad is finally getting its wheels. The hangup now seems to be whether to go for the lowest bid to keep the cost for the first 29 miles at $985 million, just under the billion-dollar mark, or to follow a path of safety. Quite predictably, some citizens say even the cheaper version is too much money for just 29 miles. Of course it would be if 29 miles were all.
That mindset seems to ignore what our country would look like today if this kind of horse-and-buggy thinking had prevailed 150 years ago when a transcontinental railroad was envisioned. In today's dollars, the cost would have been truly mindboggling. Yet, was the investment worth it? Was it worth the government's support? Was it only the railroad barons who benefited? Or was it all of us?
High-speed trains, going 200 and more miles per hour, were put on the rails in France and Japan 40, 50 years ago, and today they are part of everyday travel in many countries that are our friends and economic competitors; even China runs them.
Germany is the about the size of California. Their business people and other travelers now use the ICE trains, which routinely reach 187 mph, instead of hopping on short domestic flights, comparable to trips between the Bay Area/Sacramento and Los Angeles/San Diego areas.