Monday, November 10, 2008

The Boondoggle Chorus

boondoggle (bngl, -dgl):
1. work of little or no value done merely to look busy

I was planning to take a break from posting here for a bit, but I felt I had to address this matter. The opponents of High-Speed Rail have not taken a break from trying to undermine the CA High-Speed rail project just because Prop 1A passed. Like clock work they show up on any internet story relating to the project now as they did before the election, and rehash the same tired and debunked claims. Their hope is to shoot the project down before tracks get laid, as was done to similar attempts to kick start high-speed rail in Texas and Florida.

This in and of it self wouldn't be so damn annoying to me were it not for the fact that they (or maybe it's just one person posting under multiple names in their libertarian bunker somewhere), are completely head over heels in love with the word boondoggle. If I had a dollar for every use of the word boondoggle in the comments section of a high-speed rail related story, I could bank roll the private investor funding portion of Prop 1A my self.

If there were say a project to create a HSR line between Little Rock and Hot Springs Arkansas with claims of high ridership potential (my relatives would use it), then yes that would suit the word boondoggle quite nicely. However this project is connecting the biggest cites in one of the Nations most populace states, so the word holds no water to me in this context. The numerous nations that now run, or are in the planning stages of their own high-speed rail networks don't seem to think the idea is such a "boondoggle."

So it will be important in the months and years ahead that we be a voice of reason (jab, jab, poke, poke, Reason Foundation), and make sure that California understands the benefits of High-Speed Rail. We must see this thing through to completion and prove to Americans what a folly it was to let us get so behind in passenger rail in the first place.


Rafael said...

By approving prop 1A, California voters implicitly accepted a future change of lifestyle with respect to intercity mobility. It's not a boondoggle if people actually use the service. No-one can really be sure of that either way until after it is built.

In addition to prop 1A, California voters also explicitly endorsed sales tax hikes to fund local transit in Los Angeles, Marin and Sonoma counties. They did so in a recession and by 2/3 majorities. The verdict on a similar measure in Santa Clara county is still too close to call today (Nov 13).

Those who argue that more should be spent on local and regional transit before HSR is even considered should take note: California voters are sick of living in flyover country, being stuck in traffic, poor air quality, unpredictable gasoline prices, paying for wars in the Middle East and contributing heavily to global warming. They aren't choosing between local and intercity rail, they have decided they want both.

Adra said...

ORLANDO, Fla.-The future of the nation's high speed rail system is on course as leaders from the US High Speed Rail Association (US HSR), legislators, and other business and civic leaders gathered in Orlando, Fla. March 4-5, 2010 for High Speed Rail 2010. The conference, hosted by US HSR - the only non-profit organization in America focusing entirely on advancing a state-of-the-art national high speed rail network, sought to foster a thoughtful dialogue about the feasibility and process of building high speed rail systems in Florida and in several other states.

Highlights from the conference, include:
Speaking during a conference luncheon, U.S. Congressman and senior member of the House Transportation Committee, John Mica (R-Winter Park), called on business leaders to provide private funding for high speed rail projects to supplement planned federal stimulus funding. In addition, he asked that the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) expedite actions to set in place procedures for procurement and set national standards for construction and logistics, such as track, signaling and railroad car standards, to be followed by all states.

US High Speed Rail Association is the only non-profit organization in America focusing entirely on advancing a state-of-the-art national high speed rail network. Our vision includes a national HSR Express system consisting of state-of-the-art dedicated track, advanced control systems, elegant multi-modal train stations, and top-of-the-line 220 mph trains. Our goal is to connect cities and states into an integrated system, laid out in phases with an aggressive schedule for full system build out.

US HSR is planning a private CEO roundtable in Miami, Fla April 16 to discuss public-private partnerships to create a $100 billion fund to finance HSR systems in America. Also planned is another major high speed rail conference to take place June 17-18 in Los Angeles.

For more information on the association, upcoming events, and to view the proposed 17,000 mile national high speed rail system, and recent videos, visit