Sunday, November 02, 2008

After Some Consideration, Yes on 1A

Long-time readers will know that some issues with the CA HSR project--principally that it's being run by crooks and idiots, has chosen a poor route for political means, that money would be better invested in local transit, etc.

I am also concerned about the project's business plan that assumes at least $10bn of private investment to get the system built, and am afraid of this turning into another zombie project like BART-to-San Jose, something that never gets built but by being enshrined as the will of the voters keeps affordable and practical things from ever getting built (I'd have preferred a less ambitious plan that to make getting to LA by train time-competitive with driving, but was certain to actually happen).

But there are some crucial differences between the original Proposition 1 and the last-minute-revised 1A that make me a little more willing to give this a chance--particularly the provision that bond funds could be invested in improvements to useful segments of the line. The SJ-SF corridor is specifically mentioned.

So at the very least, if this passes, we can hope and lobby for electrification and grade separation of CalTrain, and extension to the Transbay Terminal, as an early benefit, even if bullet trains to SoCal are decades away.

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