Now that the first round of applications to the federal government for the $8 billion in High Speed Rail which means it’s more than past time to make the case that California deserves more than its share of those funds. California has two applications in to the the USDOT for two segments of the project that should eventually connect San Francisco to San Diego.
The first is local and would connect Los Angeles to Anaheim. The cost for completing that segment is $3 billion. The second corridor would connect San
Francisco to San Jose at somewhere between $4 billion and $5 billion. The L.A. to Anaheim line could be completed by as early as 2018.
The case has already been made that California is ahead of the game when it comes to planning for High Speed Rail. In addition to having a route ready to go, last November voters approved a $9.9 billion bond for the project that will cover nearly one quarter of the $40 billion project.
In fact, California is so far ahead of other states, that The Business Insider, a publication that until recently had been questioning the potential success of sending money towards High Speed Rail, suggested that instead of helping every deserving project around the country the federal government should send all of the money to California. They propose that California’s High Speed Rail project could be the "interstate system" of this "great recession."
If we built the train system proposed for California, we would get
real, measurable, results. If the train is a flop, at least we’ll know
for sure. If it’s a raging success, then we can choose the next part of
the country in which to build a better train system.
However, if we give a $76 million to North Carolina, and $28 million to Pennsylvania, what will really learn?
We’ve seen a lot of controversy created against the concept of High Speed Rail by east-coast columnists who can’t think outside of the box. Yesterday, DC Streetsblog’s Ryan Avant took apart a Washington Post columnist who used the bizarre argument that America didn’t have the density to support High Speed Rail as they do in Europe. While Avant blew that argument out of the water nationally, the California High Speed Rail Blog took it a step further and looked at the density of the counties that would be served by High Speed Rail when it comes to California.
San Francisco County – 9,999
San Mateo County- 1,575
Santa Clara County- 1,303
Merced County- 109.2
Fresno County- 143.1
Tulare County- 76.3
Kern County- 81.3
Los Angeles County 2,344.1
Orange County- 3,607.5
average: 2,138 persons per square mile over nine counties served by HSR.
This is just for the San Francisco to Irvine section, but I think we can safely lay density to rest as an argument.