According to an editorial by Michael Dukakis, L.A.-S.F. train is a quick traffic fix – Los Angeles Times, California should build a high-speed rail line to reduce urban congestion. Clearly the former governor has never heard of opportunity costs . Spending money on intercity transportation means the money cannot be spent to solve real problems within metropolitan areas, where the traffic is.
Keeping the initiative alive, Gov. Schwarzenegger left some additional planning money for HSR in the California budget (shouldn’t 12 years of planning have finished the job? World War II was fought in less time). The bond issue for the $35 Billion project has been presumably postponed to 2008. The San Francisco Chronicle endorses this fantasy that HSR will solve real transportation problems and suggests it might even make a profit . (The difference between “operating profit” which ignores capital costs, and real profit being conveniently ignored).
Next perhaps planning can start on a high-speed canal to move steamboats quickly through the Central Valley and from Sacramento to San Francisco. One can see hundreds of millions of people per year wanting to move by a high speed boat between Bakersfield and Modesto, overlooking the scenic farms of the Valley, breathing in its fresh organic air, it would make excellent use of the underutilized irrigation canals
See my earlier post and website for further discussion of my opinion on this HSR line.
If California can get 50% of its funding from the federal government, it might appear rational for California to push forward if the benefit/cost ratio of such an endeavor is above 0.5 instead of the usual criteria that benefit> cost, but (1) it is unclear that the B/C exceeds 0.5, and (2) it is certainly not in the national interest.