High-speed rail really is a train to nowhere

The Los Angeles Times and Associated Press refer to the California high-speed rail project as a “Train to Nowhere,” analogous to Alaska’s incomplete “Bridge to Nowhere.”

The analogy is correct. The California High-Speed Rail Authority board just approved spending $4.5 billion in state and federal taxpayer money to lay tracks from Borden to Corcoran (65 miles, combined population of 25,000). The segment won’t be operational because $4.5 billion doesn’t include costs for trains, electrical wires or eminent-domain property takings, nor is a station in the environmental impact review plans between these small cities.

Extrapolate out 65 miles of flat land, and the $4.5 billion cost, to the remaining 735 miles of high-speed rail tracks (including the densely populated Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego areas) where eminent-domain lawsuits and forcible eviction fights will occur, then add in costs for trains, electrification, stations, et al., and you arrive at Stanford professor Alain Enthoven’s $213 billion estimate for just the first phase of construction.

California can’t afford this boondoggle.

Mike Brown
Burlingame

Cut the paper chase

The saying “to count the pennies while not watching the dollars” may be applicable to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi regarding his proposed legislation that would reduce city government’s use of paper.

No, not in the use of the one sheet of toilet paper, but in the printing electronically of documents in excess of 10 pages. One would think that double-sided printing would save paper while printing out the  electronic documents.

Although fines and jail-term penalties were not mentioned, it would seem that departmental  policies like this are done in the corporate world and could be instituted by department heads instead of legislation that would involve police and court oversight.

However, at a time of high unemployment, cutting back on the use of paper in government citywide would affect private businesses that depend on the sale of recycled paper and would cause the loss of many private jobs that pay for the public government jobs.

Frank Norton
San Francisco


Recession means sacrifice

I am fascinated by the fact that every time I read the news about The City, I feel like I have been slapped in the face!

It’s outrageous that Proposition B failed. If officials don’t find a way to cut costs, The City will be in more trouble than it’s in already. Labor leaders don’t want to help with the process, even though they say they do. It’s not in their best interests because it would undermine the union members.

We have to face the fact that we are in a recession, and we all have to lose something if we are ever to get out of this hole, but still we keep digging our grave.

I have made a lot of sacrifices because of the recession. People need to be less selfish.

Adrien Dion
San Francisco

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