Yes on Prop 1: High Speed Rail
Despite all the frills there are to living in Southern California, one issue that cannot be denied is the state government’s apathy toward pedestrians who are outside of its most metropolitan areas. Some parts of the state only have buses that arrive every few hours, with little else serving Californians in terms of public transit. The Metrolink and Amtrak services are helpful, but leave much of the state uncovered. For these reasons, any measure taken to improve public transportation could not only improve the paths that the average California pedestrian takes, but also open up entirely new ones. In other words, voters should vote yes on Proposition 1A.
The proposition will set into motion the construction of a high-speed train system. By asking for just under $10 billion in bonds, voters would set the foundation for a bullet train that could travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco at speeds as fast as 220 mph. This could transform a non-automobile owner’s agonizing journey from Southern California to Northern California to a mere two and a half hour trip. For car owners, this could also benefit you, as gas prices have never completely stabilized. Thus, in the long run voting yes on the proposition could essentially put fuel in your gas tank and money in your pocket.
Opponents of the proposition may trumpet two points, which are its cost and its completion date.
In regard to this first point, while $10 billion seems like a vast sum on paper for such an ambitious project, Californians will be getting this futuristic project at a steal. For example, alternative ways to improve California’s transportation system have included proposals to modify the state’s highways.
However, estimations show that simply to expand Central Valley Highway 99, the cost would be $25 billion. Furthermore, the proposition will draw funding from federal and private sources in addition to state assistance, which places less pressure on California’s economy.
Even the most adamant proponents of the high-speed train system estimate that the endeavor will not be completed for many years to come, with projections generally showing a finish date of 2030. While this is admittedly less than desirable, construction on the project could begin as early as 2011 as the funds gained from this proposition would be geared toward a route between Anaheim and San Francisco. Although individuals may not be able to take that two and a half hour ride to San Francisco in the next few years, once built, such sections could potentially be used long before 2030.
With California’s massive economy and progressive population, the state has all the tools needed to be a frontrunner in developing revolutionary policies. Although the state has at times stood up to this challenge, in terms of public transportation, California has fallen behind — way behind.
Yet, with three of the five most congested urban areas in the nation, it is not just pedestrians who will benefit from the construction of a high-speed train system. Highways and byways will only become increasingly crowded as time goes on.
Rather than looking into expensive highway projects that will not reduce congestion issues when taking population increase into account, Californians need a solution. And the first step to that solution is voting yes on Proposition 1A.
Daniel Johnson is a fourth-year literary journalism and film and media studies double-major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.