Monday, March 15, 2010

HSR crowding out local transit projects

Yet another way in which Obama's high-speed rail plans are derailing actual progress in getting Americans out of their cars:

BUENA PARK, Calif. — Mayor Art Brown spent years pushing for a commuter train station combined with nearby housing in his community. But as townhouses are being finished around the $14 million Metrolink station, he's facing the prospect that California's high-speed rail line may plow right through his beloved project.

"The only option they presented to us was either losing the condo units or losing our train station," Brown said of an engineering presentation to city leaders last year.

That a successful effort to get car-dependent Californians to embrace mass transit could be derailed by another transportation project may strike some as ironic. But it's also one of the hidden costs — and a potential harbinger of delay — in the ambitious plan that would enable passengers to speed the 430 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 2 1/2 hours.

By the way, the projected cost of a one-way ticket on the high-speed rail line from LA to SF has risen from $55 to $105. Despite the fact that intraurban trips account for the vast majority of transportation use in America, the Obama administration and other politicians prefer to focus on expensive boondoggles like high-speed rail, often at the expense of more mundane, but much more important local projects like these.

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