In one of the great ironic coincidences in government boondoggle history, the Democratic Party has introduced legislation that mandates that high-speed trains replace automobiles and airplanes within 10 years. Train travel to Hawaii and Guam should be very interesting, if somewhat soggy. Beach towels are suggested for passengers.
In case you missed it, just one week later, the only high-speed train project under construction in the United States was cancelled due to costs which rose 220+% from initial estimates. Plus it was so far behind schedule that the earliest projected completion date is estimated at the day that U Cal Berkeley endorses the Capitalist system.
After 10 years of effort, the project is still 23 years from completion. Oh, and finding out that from a practical perspective the plan was as obtainable as affordable housing in San Francisco.
So let’s get this straight, California has spent 10 years and $5 billion trying to build two high speed train lines just between a four cities. And has failed miserably. But according the 70 Democratic congresspersons and 5 major and many minor candidates for President, high speed trains are going to eliminate the airline industry in just 10 years across the entire continent?
It is just too stupifyingly idiotic as to be beyond belief. But it is all true.
How did California get into this mess? The root of such massive waste is their population’s obsessive concern over climate change. Since cars and planes are so damaging to the environment that we will all die in 12 years or so, the voters in Californuts voted to tax themselves $10 billion to build a lightning fast choo choo from LA to San Francisco. And for reasons that can only be explained by politics, from Bakersfield to Merced. Literally tens of people are projected to ride that line daily.
As it turns out, building train lines is massively complicated and expensive. Land owners are not eager to have train tracks producing ear splitting noise running thru their property. They have lawyers, and money to pay them. We don’t have coolie labor any more, so digging tunnels and building bridges turns out to be pretty pricey.
Just an example: (LA Times)
And then there’s California’s dynamic geology to contend with. In 2016, engineers said they had to dig a 13.5-mile tunnel through the Diablo Range because their earlier plans cut too close to the San Luis Reservoir. But boring through the unstable mix of hard sandstone, weak shale and boulders has put the estimated cost of that single stretch between $5.6 billion and $14.4 billion.
You could excuse all of this left coast insanity if the project ever made sense to anyone. But realistically, train travel sucks on all levels.
Trains can travel a maximum of 220 miles an hour, conceptually. In reality, more likely about the speed of cars for all practical purposes, (70 MPH). Meanwhile, commercial airplanes travel 575 miles an hour. So a train will take you 2.6-8.0 times longer than an airplane. Travel from LA to NYC is 2,789 miles. So at a minimum, you take a 4.8 hour flight and turn this into a 12.5 hour marathon, at best. By any standards, NO SANE PERSON will do this. Unless by government mandate of course.
Then there is the little matter of costs. There are no subsidies required for airline travel. The government makes money off it, rather. No capital investments are required to fly anywhere you want to go. No environmental impact statements, or seizing property from innocent citizens by eminent domain. The infrastructure is all built out. Basically free to us taxpayers. You can fly from LA to SF for $149, or approximately the cost of dinner for 2 at Maggiano’s. Affordable.
Judging by the California experiment, we would need a staggering $200 trillion to build out the high speed train system nationwide. OK I made that up, but you can’t even guess how much it would cost. I might be conservative. Remember, 13.5 miles is going to cost $14.4 billion.
In sum, our experiment in high speed rail indicates it is a complete failure. Based on this experience, the Democratic Party has built is future on its success.
You can still register as a Republican, Independent, or Raving Looney Monster Party member. Too sane for you?