Friday, January 29, 2010

High Speed Rail Wins

The initial race for Federal grant dollars is over, and a big winner is California. Take a look at the other projects that were granted funding across the country. The proposed California High Speed Rail (HSR) design has been on the boards for years, with some initial "paving the way" projects funded locally. A good diagram of this proposed system design is on LA Streetsblog.

As I outlined in a prior post, HSR needs to be fast, with just a few stops allocated to the regional urban centers. As has been pointed out in other transit blogs, it's important to design the system correctly, not politically. The funding dollars just won't stretch that far in the end, they never do. My suggestion involves expanding the existing urban rail systems in the Bay area (SF-Oakland-Stockton) and essentially connecting to LA with as few stops as possible. I think anyone who has been to Stockton, Merced and Modesto would agree with that. The stretch from LA to Anaheim and San Diego is too short and has too many stops for HSR, so it should be built out from existing systems to join in a local transit network. Add to this the questioning of the ridership forecast, I anticipate the usual fallout and the physical truncation of the envisioned system.

Again, just my two centavos.