This nation is still in the stone-age when it comes to high speed rail. I find it pathetic that we call this a “developed” nation yet our rail system is light years behind other “developed” countries. Unfortunately it seems developed countries are defined by the strength of its’ military technology and the rate at which its’ citizens consume goods.
California voters passed proposition 1A last November which allocated $9 billion to start building a high speed rail corridor connecting the Bay Area to Los Angeles, with split-offs to Sacramento and San Diego. I was overjoyed to see this proposition pass. Now the question is, will it really become a reality and if it does when? The California High-Speed Rail Authority states:
Construction efforts are anticipated to begin by 2011. An implementation plan approved in August 2005 estimates that it would take eight to eleven years to “develop and begin operation of an initial segment of the California high-speed train.”
The NY Times ran this article on Feb. 19, 2009, discussing money allocated to high speed rail in the recently passed economic stimulus package. $8 billion for high speed rail was tacked on to the bill in the last hours. I am happy to see this but am also aware that it is not nearly enough to make the revolutionary changes our rail system needs. The article states:
High-speed rail has a long, tortured history in the United States, going back to 1965, when Congress passed the High-Speed Ground Transportation Act. Since then, it has been proposed by many governors and studied in countless plans, always holding out the promise of catching up with other countries.
Below is a map of the proposed high speed corridors
Well, even though the money is not enough, this is a start. I am glad to see that California already has an organization in place to start the project and it will be getting some more funding from the Feds. Can’t wait to jump on the train in SF and be in LA in two and half hours!