New business plan for high-speed rail project is released (California High-Speed Rail Authority)
The new plan foresees building the project in phases until it’s complete between San Francisco and Anaheim in 2033. The new cost, as we wrote yesterday, is $98 billion — more than double the cost of the previous estimate of $43 billion. The plan makes the case that building high-speed rail is less expensive than building the transportation projects that California will need without a north-south bullet train and that it will be a massive job creator. The idea, as I read it, is to build and operate an initial segment — mostly in the San Joaquin Valley — and then to use profits and private funds attracted by the project to build the rest.
I suggest reading the executive summary of the plan (the link to the pdf is above) in addition to the media coverage. The L.A. Times notes that there are some still significant elected officials backing the plan, most notably Gov. Jerry Brown. The article notes that a funding plan for the rest of the line will be released Thursday and there will be a lot of scrutiny with the High-Speed Rail Authority saying it intends to begin construction next year on a segment between Merced and Bakersfield. The obvious question: without a solid plan, is it smart to start building?
Military thinktank says U.S. should cut oil use (The Guardian)
The Military Advisory Board — consisting of former generals in the American military — says that the country is far too dependent on this single natural resource controlled by an overseas “cartel” engaged in price fixing. Even worse, the loss of that resource would likely mean getting the American military involved and lead to a massive recession.
Who needs a private jet? (Wired)
A private rail car may set you back $1 million or so, but it has its pluses — specifically, 800 square feet of luxury. Yes, there are other costs, namely the few thousand dollars it takes to have Amtrak or some other railroad drag you around the country. A few of these private cars are parked at Union Station, by the way — easily seen from the right side of the southbound Gold Line headed into Union from Pasadena.