Is California High Speed Rail Worth the Costly Price Tag?

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Back in 2008 California voters approved, by a narrow margin, to build the first high-speed train network in the United States. Last week, the plans moved ahead on the high speed rail when the California State Senate approved a critical funding bill. The “bullet” train is supposed to address growing transportation needs as well as create more jobs in California, where unemployment is currently 10.8%. However, these ideal outcomes come at an enormous price. The planning and building of the high-speed train network is estimated to cost nearly $68 billion. The state legislature has yet to approve the $2.7 billion from the voter approved bond money. Once approved, if it is approved, the federal government can then contribute the promised $3.3 billion funding, and building can begin.

Here are ten reasons why the California High Speed Rail Authority believes the “bullet train” will prove to benefit majorly the state of California:

1. First and foremost, the high-speed rail will create more jobs. As many as 100,000 construction related jobs each year that the system is being built as well as nearly 450,000 permanent new jobs statewide created by the economic growth the train system will generate over the next 25 years.

2. Reduced dependence on foreign oil: 12.7 million barrels less per year.

3. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions: 12 billion pounds less per year.

4. Improved air quality.

5. Faster travel on the ground between major metropolitan areas.

6. Congestion relief on freeways and at airports.

7. The trains system will cut air pollution and smog throughout California because the electric power to the trains can be produced by renewable sources like wind and solar.

8. 800 miles of track and up to 24 stations, meaning the railway will be highly accessible.

9. Cheaper, faster, and more convenient travel connected to local public transportation.

10. Enhanced public safety due to separation of tracks and existing roads and highways.

 

Do you think the California high-speed railway’s price tag matches the potential benefits?