Tag Archives: Train

The Bullet Train: Where the hell is it?

For years we have been promised a bullet train that would make us the envy of the country.  We would be able to hop a spur somewhere up in NorCal and be in LA in a few quick hours.  While the wrangling might get a little dirty between SF and Oakland, with a possible additional spur going to Sacto, we could handle it up here…right Bay Area folks? Worst comes to worst, somebody has to connect to the bullet on BART.  No biggie.

And even better, projections indicate that the train would ultimately make a profit. Now, maybe Southwest Airlines might not dig on it, but our environment would sure love it. It would be a boon to the goals of AB 32 to reduce our carbon footprints.  And, most importantly, wouldn’t it be sweet to hop on a train and get between our major cities in a few hours? Seriously, that would be freaking sweet.

But it is now 2007, and we have no train. No construction for a train. No bond measure has even appeared on the ballot, let alone passed.  WTF, mate? Well, follow me over the flip for more from the SFBG’s Steven T. Jones

How cool would it be to get the bullet train?  Pretty darn cool:

All the project studies indicate this should be a no-brainer. San Franciscans could travel to Los Angeles in just a couple hours, the same time it takes to fly, at a fraction of the cost. And the system – eventually stretching from Sacramento to San Diego – would generate twice as much money by 2030 as it costs to build. The trains use far less power than planes or cars and can be powered by renewable resources with no emissions. The system would get more than two million cars off the road and single-handedly reduce greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 12 million metric tons per year. (SFBG 4-17-07)

The bond is still scheduled to appear on the ballot in 2008. Of course that doesn’t mean much, does it? It was also scheduled to be on the 2004 ballot, only to be pulled off the ballot.  Same thing in 2006.  So, why do you think this happened. I’ll give you one hint…umm…he’s a former professional steroid shooter bodybuilder:

Growing awareness of climate change has increased support for high-speed rail among legislators and in public opinion polls (among Democrats and Republicans), leaving only one major impediment to getting energy-efficient trains traveling the state at 220 mph: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

While posing for the April 16 cover of Newsweek with the headline “Save the Planet – or Else” and touting himself around the world as an environmental leader, Schwarzenegger has quietly sought to kill – or at least delay beyond his term – high-speed rail. (SFBG 4-17-07)

Now is not the time to choose cars over rail. Sure, we need improvements for our aging highway infrastructure, but we cannot choose it over roads.  It betrays the Governator’s true level of “Green-ness”.  The fact is that he still plays to his Hummer-driving base.

So, what are we to do about this? Well, time for us to start pushing for rail where we can.  Have you told your legislators that you want rail? Just give them a call, it’s a good start. But don’t give up there, raise the issue in Democratic clubs, with prospective candidates, et cetera. You know the drill…