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1 Gretchen G.Tiger  Thu, Aug 4, 2011 9:44:55pm

Good idea, bad implentation?

2 freetoken  Thu, Aug 4, 2011 11:42:18pm

re: #1 ggt

Good idea, bad implentation?

Rather, I would say it was (and still is) a good intention, but the concept was not honestly analyzed because those who should have had an important contribution - sociologists, geographers, and historians - were ignored.

Put simply, wherever high speed rail in the world has flourished it has come after the society had already depended upon local rail as part of the lifestyle of the people of the nation/communities.

The approach the California rail supporters (and subsequent board) took was a classic American approach (vice a Japanese or Chinese approach) - think somehow the grandeur or the vision and starting at the top is enough make something viable.

Sort of like the Moon Shot or the Manhattan Project, we in the US tend to go for the big, big projects that have maximal payoff.

However, societies are not built that way! They are built form the ground up, and nothing is more intimate and part of society than transportation between communities.

I never liked the California project, even though I believe that the US desperate needs to rebuild it's commuter rail systems and get off of the car-dependence.

More so than anywhere else in the nation, Souther Californians (and Californians in general) are high on the automobile - the power and prestige factor of owning an auto is part of the soul of any American but especially so in SoCal.

Being high on the fumes of their automobiles keeps way too many Californians from thinking that change can't start at the top - it has to start at the bottom.

And what that means for transportation is designing lifestyles and communities that do not depend upon each person owning an automobile. One of the best ways to do this, as discovered in this country over 100 years ago, and as practiced today around the world in all the World's great cities - is to use rail to move people.

Once California figures out how to do local rail well, then connecting the major cities via high speed rail will be tractable.

3 freetoken  Thu, Aug 4, 2011 11:52:45pm

I will also say this though - the writer of that article at City Journal has her online home at RedCounty, a right-wing site somewhat akin to RedState and full of the usual atavists , reactionaries, etc.

The author herself has been against the CHSRA from the beginning of her writing, so it's not surprising that she penned that article for City Journal.


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