Friday, April 29, 2011

When it comes to High-Speed Rail, you have to be very careful about the news you pay attention to.

Here's where the media really screw up. NBC Bay Area local news gets it wrong.  At least, RJ Middleton, who presumably wrote this, gets it wrong.  Some of our disagreement has been interspersed into the article text.

I don't know about you, Mr. Middleton, but I'm not affluent. I'm certainly not rich.
Nonetheless, I do not want this high-speed rail project in my State. 


High-Speed Rail? Not in Their Back Yard (Literally)

Affluent suburbs renew their interest in killing the bullet train project.

By RJ Middleton
Posted on Friday, Apr 29, 2011 at 8:31 AM PDT

Having made their millions innovating technology and disrupting other markets, it seems Silicon Valley millionaires are against seeing innovation running through where they live, disrupting their property values. 

[Wrong, Mr. Middleton.  The Silicon Valley millionaires love this train. Why don't you ask them? It will permit their workers to commute greater distances and live in cheaper housing in the Valley and therefore they don't have to pay them so much. And, as we've said elsewhere, there's nothing "innovative" about this rail project. It's old stuff off the shelves of other countries.]

The Wall Street Journal has this choice quote from Atwater Mayor Jim Dobbie: "We have many houses close to the railroad in the multiple millions in value. We just hope the project dies."

[Mr. Middleton, that's Atherton, not "Atwater."  The mayor of Atherton, Jim Dobbie, is doing his job, which is to protect his city from harm, including financial harm, regardless of house values. If you were our mayor, and didn't do what Jim Dobbie is doing for his town, we would vote you out of office.]

Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto have filed new briefs in their ongoing lawsuit to challenge, if not halt, the bullet train's route that would connect San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

[There are laws, Mr. Middleton, and the Rail Authority is breaking them. The lawsuits are intended to oblige the Rail Authority to perform their intended tasks legally. The State Attorney General, instead of enforcing these laws, is the attorney for the rail authority and defending their illegal actions.]

The elevated structure is a potential eyesore, according to the municipalities and their Congressional representative, Anna Eshoo (D). She issued a statement asking to the structure to be eliminated.

Another approach would be to put the train underground, but the cost would likely bury the entire project. 

[Say what you will, Mr. Middleton, but Congresswoman Eshoo is correct. Building a structure as vast and overwhelming as a concrete freeway overpass directly in front of your house does not seem to be a good idea.  That's not what other high-speed rail projects in envied Europe do. Why should our project be shoved through farms, pristine wild areas or urban environments? How would you feel, Mr. Middleton if the interstate highway department determined it should run a four-lane road through your living room; would you be OK with that?]

Construction is set to begin next year in the Central Valley on the California-voter-approved project. That approval entailed a $10 billion bond sale to fund construction, with the federal government kicking in more money. 

[What the voters approved is not what this project is about. It's quite different. The voters were snookered with false advertising.  Mr. Middleton, is that acceptable?]

The entire thing is estimated at $43 billion. 

[The current going cost estimate is up to $66 billion and it's far from complete.  It will doubtless go to $100 billion or more for the 800 miles of HSR rail.]