All Aboard! – Blanket disapproval of high-speed rail is coming to an end.

For politicians, recanting what they say is part of the job description, but today’s article in the Huffington Post, Cantor Caught Celebrating High-Speed Rail After Ridiculing It, is likely to be part of larger trend when it comes to high-speed rail. That is because the Stimulus Bill has put HSR in the limelight, sparking interest in this form of transportation and in turn a better informed electorate, on the HSR issue. No longer can politicians site isolated examples of unrealistic projects, such as MagLev to train to Las Vegas, as sufficient to discredit all rail projects. President Obama said in his HSR speech on April 16th that, “getting people to imagine what’s possible, and putting resources behind it so that people can start seeing examples of this around the country, that’s going to spur all kinds of activity [in high-speed rail].” Obama was right – the first stimulus dollar for HSR won’t be dolled out until at least October and the other side of the isle has already changed their rhetoric on this issue.


2 Responses to “All Aboard! – Blanket disapproval of high-speed rail is coming to an end.”

  1. 1 Jarrett at HumanTransit May 1, 2009 at 5:07 am

    Hey Bryan

    Thanks for the link to the CDG express website. This project, however, is quite unlike the HSR airport station you’re proposing. It’s an urban transit service designed exclusively for travel within an urban area. CalHSR does make multiple stops in the Bay Area, but its PURPOSE is longer inter-regional trips. That prevailing purposes is likely to yield lower frequencies and higher fares than you need for a City-Airport link.

    You also have to compare how much of Paris is readily accessible via Gare de l’Est compared to how much of the Bay Area is reachable from the new station. Passengers with luggage are transfer-averse, so I’d expect passengers destined for the East Bay to still use BART from the airport, as it’s more frequent and will go there directly. Much of San Francisco is well south of the new TTC and will also find BART easier to access and again, probably more frequent.

    I don’t claim anything like your knowledge of the current HSR politics, but I’ve reviewed your replies to my previous comment and they sound like things you’ll have to build stronger cases on. It’s absurd to claim that the greater LA region — which is bigger than the Bay Area — will have fewer of its own flights because of the option to take a train to SFO and catch flights there. SFO is just not that important compared to LAX and its satellites. (LAX also has much more reliable weather without SFO’s fog problem.) If you want to claim that your SFO station will be useful for passengers from within the Bay Area, you’ll need to cite HSR policies that encourage the use of the service for this purpose. Typically, an inter-regional service does the opposite — intentionally not serving intra-regional trips in order to preserve capacity for the inter-regional market.

    I would have made these comments to you offline, but your blog doesn’t provide an email address. There’s a link to mine on my blog. Cheers, J

  2. 2 Jarrett at HumanTransit May 4, 2009 at 9:20 pm


    I believe your blog host is acting up. The comment that I see above on this post is the one I put on your post about the CDG rail link. It seems to have somehow migrated to this post, and erased the one I left here. Good luck dealing with WordPress on this.

    Cheers, Jarrett

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