High-speed rail mess | Customer Perspectives






Quentin L. Kopp


A Bay Area column by Andy Kunz and Ezra Silk condemning Elon Musk’s promise to make “a useful humanoid robot as quickly as possible” and then condemning Musk’s 2013 proposed Hyperloop train system to carry passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco at 760 mph falsely claimed California’s high-speed rail project was “under construction…and at a fraction of the cost.” Kunz is president and Silk is political director of the US High Speed ​​Rail Coalition, a trade group that has unsuccessfully promoted high-speed rail in the United States for 26 years or more. Like other proponents, they ignore our country’s failure to develop a high-speed rail system. The California High-Speed ​​Rail Authority, for example, hasn’t laid any of its proposed diesel tracks for Merced service in Bakersfield, unless you consider bridges and overpasses “tracks.” The US High Speed ​​Rail Association also ignores the fact that no other state claims to build a high-speed rail, despite its 58 years of operation in Japan and subsequent debuts in France, Germany, etc.

By definition, the high-speed train is electrified and not diesel. Almost all of these systems in the world operate as private entities with no subsidy from taxpayers (Communist China is an exception). That was my vision in introducing enabling legislation as a state senator and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee in 1992. Such legislation was eventually, after a veto by then Governor Pete Wilson, signed into law before I left the Legislative Assembly in 1998. Finally, in November 2008, a $9.95 billion general bond issue was presented to taxpayers and, as chairman of the board of the California High -Speed ​​Rail Authority, I led the campaign. Voters narrowly approved him at 52% compared to 48% when US Senator Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. The measure prohibited any taxpayer from exploiting subsidies and specified travel times such as San Francisco to Los Angeles as two hours 40 minutes.

Jose P. Rogers