San Diegans Not Drinking In High Speed Rail
Stay classy, high speed rail.

Stay classy, high speed rail.

Count me among the believers that the most sensible high speed rail route in California is between Los Angeles and San Diego.  The two cities are 120 miles from each other — too close to fly and painfully slow to drive during most daytime hours.  Amtrak takes almost three hours to get there.

But a high speed rail route could chop that distance to 45 minutes — a huge value-add to connect the cities, which would do wonders economically and for quality of life.  The line would pay for itself in fare revenue.

So of course it will likely be the last section of high speed rail to be built in California.  And some people in San Diego are not happy about it, according to the San Diego Union Tribune:

Even with lukewarm support from the region, then San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders took a strong stand in favor of high-speed rail after the [2008 state high speed rail] bond passed.

“We stand firmly behind high-speed rail and will do all we can to bring it to San Diego,” Sanders told the authority’s board at its February 2010 meeting in San Diego. “It will help fuel our economy, help the environment and improve our quality of life.”

Reached by phone on Friday, Sanders, who now heads the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, said he’s no longer a bullet train backer.

Sanders said he supported the project because he thought San Diego would be included early on, but delays have convinced him that the state’s money would be better spent bolstering the region’s existing rail connections.

“We haven’t seen any progress,” Sanders said. “They’re not even talking about San Diego-to-LA at this point, which is too bad.”

The California High Speed Rail Authority doesn’t plan to break ground on the San Diego-to-Los Angeles link until after it completes the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles section in 2029.  That’s too bad.  But I hope in the meantime the state will consider either a concurrent start in San Diego or upgrades to the Amtrak line to get it running to 110 miles per hour.  It would be a great demonstration of a successful high speed rail line in California and provide immediate benefits for the millions of people in that corridor.


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