Today on the High-Speed Rail Seesaw...
Are the current plans for a $40-billion high-speed train meant to connect Fresno and San Francisco with Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Diego brilliant or reckless? Everytime you start to form an opinion, something comes the other way down the tracks.
- A poll released yesterday afternoon says that 76% of Californians support the high-speed rail line.
- But that poll was conducted as part of a public relations campaign on behalf of the California High Speed Rail Authority. It didn't highlight the project's potential downsides and possibly flawed ridership projections, but it did highlight 11 potential benefits, including the claim that the train would be cheaper than other forms of transportation. The Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters dismissed the poll as "spin."
- BUT in a terse comment on the Walters' column, high-speed rail official Jeff Barker pointed out examples from around the world showing that bullet trains are nearly always less expensive than airplane travel.