The folly of high speed rail

In 2008 California voters in their wisdom approved by a 53%-47% margin $9.5 billion of bonds to build a high speed rail system connecting San Diego and Sacramento, running of course through metro Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay area. But now they’ve hit snags. As this post from Joel Kotkin’s newgeography.com website indicates, locals in the Peninsula towns south of San Francisco are raising objections. You can understand why, if you’ve seen how the current Southern Pacific line runs at street level parallel to El Camino Real through Menlo Park, Atherton and Palo Alto. Converting it to high speed rail would clearly disrupt these somewhat picturesque and definitely pricey little downtowns. Plus, ridership on the current Caltrain commuter line is down 5% from 2009—not a great sign.   

Interestingly, the two counties on the Peninsula approved the ballot measure, Proposition 1A—San Mateo County by 61%-39% and Santa Clara County by 60%-40%, providing 1A with 28% of its statewide popular vote margin. Maybe some of these folks would like to reconsider, as cost estimates balloon, ridership estimates increasingly appear to be bogus and the disruption of existing communities becomes clearer.

Beltway ConfidentialNEPUS

Just Posted

Danielle Baskin, right, and friends hung a Halloween store banner on the sign of a mostly empty tech campus on Monday as a prank. (Photo courtesy Vincent Woo)
‘BOOgle!’ Pranksers wrap Google’s SF office park in ‘Spirit Halloween’ signage

The goof says it all about The City’s empty tech campuses

Alison Collins, a member of the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education, listens during a board meeting. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Alison Collins speaks: Embattled SF school board member confronts the recall effort

‘It’s important for folks to know what this recall is about. It’s bigger than any one of us.’

Passengers board a BART train at Powell Street station on Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Powell Station death serves as a grim reminder. BART doors don’t stop for anyone

What you need to know about safety sensors on the trains

Is the Black Cat affair a distraction from the recovery of The City’s storied nightlife industry or does Mayor Breed’s behavior inadvertently highlight the predicament the industry’s been in since San Francisco reinstated indoor mask requirements on Aug. 20? (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner, 2021)
Mayor Breed mask controversy highlights nightlife businesses’ plight

‘It’s what all the venues and bars are living every single day’

If he secured a full term in the Senate, Newsom would become the most powerful Californian Democrat since Phil Burton at the height of his career, or maybe ever. <ins>(Kevin Hume/The Examiner)</ins>

Most Read