Streetsblog’s High Speed Rail Coverage Is One Example of Why You Should Support Independent Journalism
It’s a big topic at Streetsblog. Of our twenty most-read stories across the state this last year, ten of them were about the state’s efforts to build a bullet train from L.A. to the Bay Area.
And there’s a reason these stories are so popular. Much of the mainstream media seems to have decided that the California High-Speed Rail program is a bad deal for the state, and some legislators are keen to defund it and use the money for projects closer to their own districts.
While the consistently anti-high-speed rail L.A. Times ostensibly acts as a sort of government watchdog, their reporters tell only half the story. The nation’s largest infrastructure project is steaming ahead. Thousands of well-paying union construction jobs have been created. The state is making the most of a rare opportunity to change how people move through the state, to offer an effective low-emission alternative to driving or flying.
Our coverage of high-speed rail shows Streetsblog’s importance in two ways.
First, as noted above, the Times’s coverage of the California High-Speed Rail Program is full of half-truths and spin designed to twist every announcement into a scandal. It gives casual readers the impression that the project is dead. Much of the rest of the Southern California media apes the Times’s coverage or prints propaganda from petroleum-funded think tanks.
This leaves it to Streetsblog to correct a mountain of misinformation. Joe Linton writes about the politics in Southern California and how it impacts what the legislature is doing. Melanie Curry closely follows the state legislative and executive offices and the political costs of their feuding. Roger Rudick brings deep rail expertise and provides a view from the Bay Area. Heck, I even wrote three stories about high-speed rail in 2021, focusing mostly on the role of misinformation in undermining the project.
Second, it is another demonstration of the Streetsblog mission: to inform readers about why things are happening the way they are. We take that charge seriously, even when it means upsetting a politician who is an important ally on our other key issues such as safe walking and biking.
If you value Streetsblog’s coverage of high-speed rail or any other issue, please consider making a donation to support our loud and proud independent coverage.