California High Speed Rail Investment

Moving Forward on California's High Speed Rail

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted July 5, 2012

On behalf of the US High Speed Rail Association, I would like to strongly encourage you to move forward with the state's visionary high speed rail (HSR) project as planned, without further delay.  This is one of the most important projects in the history of America as it will be the first step in building the nation's 21st century transportation system.  The entire nation is sinking under rising energy prices, combined with mind-numbing congestion that continues to worsen, with no solution to either problem on the horizon.  HSR is the only solution to both problems, and it's been tested and proven highly successful for many decades all over the world! 

There is widespread public and business support for California's HSR project as everyone is fed up with the horrible conditions on our highways, and with aviation that continues to deteriorate daily.  Building the state's HSR project will be far cheaper than expanding roads or airports.  HSR will deliver a whole new form of very high capacity mobility, while at the same time decongesting the roads and runways - making both of these function better as well.  This is a 3-for-1 deal of the century!  Spending the same money expanding California's highways by adding new lanes will be a waste of money because they will quickly fill up with more bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The people of California want this project built as quickly as possible, and are tired of the debates and fighting.  The people want new options for moving around the state, so we urge you to do the right thing and move forward with this project.  You can rest assured there are millions of people who will ride this train on a regular basis, just like they do with every HSR system around the world.  Once San Francisco and Los Angeles are connected by fast trains, this will become the busiest, most profitable rail line in America, and a top 5 in the world!  There are consortiums of companies ready to build and invest in the project.  There are also scores of real estate developers ready to invest heavily in new buildings and entire communities around the new rail stations.

Investment in HSR is both visionary and pragmatic.  It's visionary for thinking big and working for a better future.  It's pragmatic and fiscally conservative because it's a smart investment in the nation's future.  HSR creates millions of jobs, revives manufacturing, stimulates real estate development, and sets up America to save energy, money, and time - year after year.  HSR delivers fast and reliable mobility, it lowers our carbon footprint, protects the nation from energy price spikes, and increases national security by reducing dependency on foreign oil.

High speed rail is the modern form of transportation that really delivers.  It functions reliably and at full capacity even during the height of rush hour, peak holiday travel, and bad weather.  Investing in HSR as part of a balanced transportation system is smart business for California.  High speed rail delivers:

  • Proven technology with a 45 year track record; Highly successful everywhere it's built

  • Safely transporting billions of passengers

  • Relieving congestion, saving time, money, and fuel

  • Creating jobs, economic development, city revitalization, efficiency, and new real estate development

Every high speed rail system in the world is highly successful and profitable.  HSR is currently in operation in more than 20 countries (including the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy, Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan).  HSR is under construction in more than 10 countries (including Saudi Arabia, China, Spain, Italy); and in development in another 14 countries (including Morocco, Qatar, Turkey, Russia, Poland, Portugal, South Africa, India, Argentina, Brazil).  HSR has operated for 45 years in Japan carrying 9 billion passengers without a single fatality.    

California desperately needs additional options for moving people and goods around the state.  Our roads and airports were built when oil was $5 per barrel.  Today, we struggle to keep these running with oil now above $85 per barrel, and rising.  Experts predict oil will surpass $200 per barrel this decade, establishing a real urgency to constructing HSR in multiple corridors as quickly as possible.  Currently, we consume 20 million barrels of oil per day in America, 70% of it for transportation - most of which is imported.  HSR runs on electricity which can be generated by renewable energy, thereby drastically reducing oil dependency.

While there are some legitimate concerns and criticism of the project, they are tiny compared to the millions of California citizens who are suffering with the deteriorating conditions of our current transportation systems.  The legitimate concerns are being dealt with very professionally by the new leadership at the California High Speed Rail Authority.  But please don't be influenced by the artificial controversy and criticism that's coming from the entrenched oil and road interests (via an army of think tanks) who have been working to discredit the project, stir up controversy, and cast doubt about HSR.  These groups are trying to protect their profits and keep us all stuck in outmoded forms of transportation.  They don't speak for the people of California, or the rest of America who suffer daily from worsening transportation conditions that get more expensive every day.

California will lead the nation as the birthplace of HSR in America with the first test of 220 mph trains on U.S. soil, quickly advancing the nation from last place in the world, to first.  This is the nation's most important project in 60 years, and you will be long remembered as one of the leaders who made it a reality!  USHSR fully supports you and this visionary project.  We've been working for several years to help make it a reality in a number of ways including:  testifying repeatedly before Congress in favor of CA HSR (enclosed is our letter of support entered into the record of the recent Congressional hearing on CA HSR); convening two major HSR conferences in California to build widespread business and political support for the project; convening 6 additional conferences across America - each with a focus on CA HSR; working to increase private investment interest in HSR; and preparing to launch an 8-part TV series entitled High Speed Rail Around the World with a major focus on California.

We urge you to show real leadership and move forward with this visionary project as planned, without further delay.  The people of California are counting on you to do the right thing and vote to move forward.  The people all across America are also counting on you to lead the way with the nation's first HSR system so their state can then follow you by building their HSR.  This is one of the most important decisions you can make, and if you vote to move forward as planned, you will be remembered as a visionary who helped make it happen!