Tuesday, January 5, 2010


A couple of days ago, the Press-Enterprise printed a rather nasty editorial about high-speed rail, and I wanted to burst back into the blogosphere in this new year by tearing it apart, sentence by sentence, period by auto-dependent period.

However, the folks at the California HSR blog beat me to it.

So go read that post (I'll wait...), and then let me make two points. First, I'd like to underscore one of the author's points here- doing nothing is not free. We may spend $40bn on a train- but without the train it'd cost (for example) $60bn in highways and $10bn in airports. NOT building the train has a cost, and although accounting for that cost is more difficult and more hidden by our political process, it is non-zero.

Second, is this really the voice of the Inland Empire on high-speed rail? Because it's not what I've heard around town. I've heard from workers eager to apply for rail construction jobs. I hear from students on a daily basis, traveling home to the Bay Area or San Diego, who are practically begging for a better way to get around the state. I see an increasing crop of folks on bikes and buses around town, trading their automobiles for a brighter future. I see a huge population here in Riverside alone who would be happy to see this train built, and the sooner the better. Apparently, none of these folks are on the PE's editorial board.

But that's to be expected, really. The paper has never really been a bastion of progressive thought, which is understandable considering their (dwindling) readership. To the rest of the world- Riverside looks very different from its newspaper.


k said...

Watch comments at tonight's City Council from the State/Federal lobbiest for Riverside.

One concern the council had was how to bring jobs.

You might mention your ideas to them.

Eric said...

The next big fight for HSR will be convincing the HSR Board to have a stop in Riverside rather than Corona.

JN said...

This is going to be a huge issue, and I've already sent my comments off to CA-HSRA supporting a station in downtown Riverside. Of course, when they're working with the county transportation commission, and the City's rep to RCTC wants the train in Corona... we'll see.

Eric said...

Who is the City's rep to RCTC and why would they want a stop in Corona?

JN said...

Councilman Steve Adams is the City's representative on the RCTC, and at a transportation committee meeting in April, when CA-HSRA was in town doing project scoping, he said that he favoured the I-15/Corona routing over the I-215/Riverside one. As to why he wants it, you'd have to ask him.

Eric said...

I would seriously doubt that. No offense but Adams has strongly favored multi-modal options in Riverside.

JN said...

All I know is what he said at the meeting in April. He may have changed his mind since then, and I hope so, but at the April 9th Transportation Committee meeting, he specifically told the CA-HSRA representatives that they should seriously consider the Corona option.
Councilmembers Gardner and Melendrez then immediately asserted the City's support for an HSR station, with Gardner calling Corona "eastern Orange County" and saying that they did not have the necessary regional ties to the IE to be a beneficial station location.

These meetings are a matter of public record, and are (I believe) recorded and transcribed.

Eric said...

Interesting, thanks for the input. I sure hope they build a stop near March ARB