Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.
Are state and local mass transit projects really job creators? (L.A. Observed)
The post is mostly a transcript of a segment on KPCC featuring L.A. Observed business editor Mark Lacter, who asks and attempts to answer a good question: how many jobs do big infrastructure projects really generate? As Lacter puts it, the total number of jobs is often open to different interpretations and the number of people working on a project at any given time is usually a different (read: lesser) number than the estimates.
What high-speed rail means for So Cal in the next decade (L.A. Streetsblog)
Damien Newton rightly points out that the Legislature’s approval of bond money for the project also includes dollars for local projects in the Bay Area and Southern California that help tie the bullet train tracks into local transit systems. In our area, that could mean money for some double tracking of Metrolink lines and station upgrades for Palmdale and Anaheim.
Columnist Patt Morrison doesn’t really answer the question in this opinion piece, but tries to draw parallels to other big, ambitious projects that cost a lot of money and may also have done some good. And she includes this good kicker, which I think neatly summarizes the moral quandary facing the state over the project:
High-speed rail could wind up as a techno-evolutionary dead end, or it could be a model for the nation, one for which future Californians will bless us.
That’s why government undertakes big, important, useful things: because no one else can, or will.
As for high-speed rail, in a way, there’s no wrong vote on it, and no right vote, either, except through the rear-view mirror of history, when people either will be lionized or reviled for their decisions. And there are perfectly sound reasons for legislators to vote either way. But none of those reasons should be a timidity of ambition or narrowness of vision.