10 February 2013

High Speed Rail Now


High-speed rail is within our grasp, in fact it is right under our (very) noses.

Consider that California, on its surface one of the richest lands on earth, is effectively broke.

One reason is misallocation of resources.  Instead of investing in critical infrastructure such as roads and Jeff Bridges, large sums continue to be squandered on cookie-cutter housing projects or grandiose amusement parks.

3) The state of California likes to style itself a leading state among the states of the United States.

Carbon emissions must fall, and quickly, lest we be stranded at the (proverbial) ping-pong table without a paddle.

Better mass transportation systems are an obvious need.  High-speed rail would be the ideal (see #3), but it costs way too much and there is understandable concern about the steadiness of demand on some or all of the routes.

So, what is needed is some sort of train system that can propel limited numbers of people over long distances quickly and cheaply.

Wait, what was that above about overinvestment in roller-coasters?  There it is: all roller-coasters are to be immediately converted for service in inter-city rail, and new ones are to be constructed to fill in the gaps until we have a safe fast and affordable not to mention thrill-a-minute transportation alternative covering the entire metropolitan region(s).

Their relatively simple scaffolds will be far cheaper per mile to construct than the ridiculous cost estimates bandied about for actual safe high-speed rail, the smaller cars allow for more efficient scale-up to accommodate wide fluctuations in demand, and they can be safely operated by 17 year-olds working for minimum wage (at least during summers).

They need not be boring, they can still be fun and in fact the repeated steep hills and terrifying drops will provide the speed that will allow them to compete with cars and (in winter) flying bobsleds.  People may not be willing to abandon their luxury sedans to wait hours to crowd into a sweaty train full of troglodytes and teenagers, but for a reserved seat on a quick and exhilarating coaster that empties directly into their office lobby, perhaps they will reconsider.

Why build so many roller-coasters that go in circles and finish right where they start?  Amusing to be sure, but this is exactly the sort of waste we can no longer afford (not to eliminate).  People pay good money to ride a rollercoaster that lasts a minute and a half and takes them exactly nowhere.  How much will they pay to roller(the wonderful pacific)coast from San Jose to San Luis Obispo?  Wait, don't answer that yet, keep thinking good thoughts for now.

We already have high-speed rail, we are simply failing to apply it in the proper context.  Now let’s get out there in the second half and build this thing, America!


This message was paid for by an anonymous donor who just wants to see California back on top of the world again and is not too much concerned about how we get there or how much sense it makes to you clowns from other states.

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