Jim Fallows on California’s High Speed Rail

A rare pro-high speed rail piece by the Atlantic reporter. He gives a nice shout-out to our UC Berkeley / UCLA Law 2013 report on managing the project’s impacts on the San Joaquin Valley. As Fallows notes:

Judging the dynamic effect of big projects — downtown restoration efforts, canals or highways or airports — is essential because they all involve “compared with what?” questions. Building a railroad is expensive. But what is its cost, compared with that of building roads, airports, and so on? Building a railroad requires extra land. But how much land will it use, compared with instead building more highways, airports, etc? Trains use fuel and send out emissions. But compared with …

Of course, Fallows doesn’t compare the current route to perhaps more optimal routes away from the Antelope Valley and pristine areas of San Benito County, but his larger point is well-taken.


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