Last week, the California High-Speed Rail Authority released its most recent, and supposedly final, 32-chapter report on the proposed “bullet train” system between Merced and Fresno. Like its predecessors, it is the dream child of a bunch of bureaucrats who seem committed to an ideal without regard to its actual consequences.
If HSR comes to California at some point in the future, it will bring the state “up to speed” with such technologically advanced countries as — um — China. At that point, maybe 2020 or 2025, we’ll only be about five decades behind 26 countries that have developed, or have begun developing, high-speed transportation over the past half century.
This past December, a prototype, unmodified commercial-use passenger train traveling between Shanghai and Beijing reached a speed of 302 mph. This is close to half again as fast as the proposed HSR trains that might someday cut through our state’s farmlands and dissect both our coastal and inland cities. These days, we consider California’s frail effort to be “progress.”
If you were born after the last of the hippies donned business suits, you may not know that the Golden State used to lead the world in technological innovation. We used to have the best highways anywhere and the best education system to assure the state of continued breakthrough technology. Today, you put your car’s suspension system in jeopardy if you dare to drive from the Central Madera on-ramp to Avenue 16 on SR99...