Voters will have a say on bullet train

October 3, 2008 7:59:25 PM PDT
The California High Speed Rail Authority's has a vision of what the trains might look like, zooming up and down the state at nearly 200 miles an hour. However, to make the leap from an animation to reality will require passage of Prop 1A -- a voter approval of a $10 billion bond that is only a down payment on the total cost, estimated between $30 and $45 billion, some say more.

"This is our opportunity to say once again, California leads," said Quentin Kopp, with the High Speed Rail Authority.

Rail Authority Chairman Quentin Kopp faced off against Adrian Moore of the Reason Foundation, a conservative think tank, at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club Friday.

Moore says his estimates show it will cost more like $60 billion, not $30 billion. The plan is for the Federal Government and private sector to each chip-in a third of the total cost. Moore says that's unrealistic.

"We're asked to say this is going to be pie in the sky and it won't cost us anything, because the feds and private sector going to pay for it all and they're not," said Moore.

"Because of these studies, which have been scrupulously promulgated, between 70 million and 100 million rides a year, with surplus revenue of about $1 billion," said Kopp.

Kopp says the 44-year-old bullet train in Japan and other systems in Europe prove how safe, reliable and profitable these systems can be. Moore agrees the technology is great, but he doesn't like the plan for implementing it.

"It's already realistically out of reach, and it's ever more out of reach the more we look at the numbers," said Moore.

Prop 1A has broad support statewide. Opponents include The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and the peninsula cities of Menlo Park and Atherton.


Load Comments