Gallery: Californians Vote Yes on 800 Miles of High Speed Rail!

 

Barack Obama’s election to the presidency wasn’t the only sustainable choice on the ballot last Tuesday. Californians voted in favor of an 800 mile high speed train system that will stop in every major city from Sacramento to San Diego. According to the High Speed Rail Authority, California is the 12th largest source of greenhouse gas emission on earth, 41% of which come from transportation. Traveling at 220 miles per hour, the trains will reduce greenhouse gases by up to 12.7 billion pounds annually, the equivalent of removing 1 million cars from the road each year. Set to begin construction as early as 2011, California’s high speed rail will create 450,000 new jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil by 12 million barrels a year.

Californians waste countless hours and tanks of gas sitting on congested freeways and idling at stop lights. If population trends continue, by 2030 the state could have up to 100 million people, more than doubling its current number of about 40 million. California’s new FLY trains will use on average 1/3 the amount of energy required for air travel and 1/5 that of car travel.

As with any project as ambitious as 800 miles of high speed rail, there’s a strong opposition. Opponents to the proposition claim that energy-saving predictions are inflated and taxpayer costs underestimated. If California’s train project reaches even half of its proposed goals of reducing greenhouse gases, dependence on foreign oil, and freeway congestion I think its worth the expense. The United States is the among world’s largest oil consumers and contributors to greenhouse gases. Its high time we take some cues from European and Asian countries and develop efficient alternatives to driving and flying. Visit Newlands & Company for dozens of videos and renderings.

+ California High Speed Rail

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7 Comments

  1. PISTABACI November 12, 2008 at 4:14 pm

    ABOUT FREAKIN’ TIME!!!
    i can’t believe it’s taken this long for CA to use this technology. i can’t believe there isn’t one connecting vegas and LA. that highway is crowded 24/7/365.

  2. rafael November 12, 2008 at 9:16 am

    @ fabien – the train vendor has not been decided yet. Quite possibly, multiple vendors will be pre-qualified for operators to choose from. Network operations will be put out to tender.

    @ andrew.stegmaier – the primary objective of this project is to provide transportation capacity based on renewable electricity. Any reductions in GHG emissions are icing on the cake.

  3. salad days November 12, 2008 at 9:09 am

    The voters in Florida passed something like this as a constitutional ammendment a number of years ago. It was utterly rediculous. Not only were costs estimates incredibly optomistic, they were simply saying “build this” to the state government without any budgeting considerations. Clearly they wouldn’t be happy if the state increased taxes to pay for it and just as clearly they would be unhappy if the state cut out whatever 1/4 of it’s programs to pay for the mammoth project.

    My point is that ballot initiatives are no place for big projects like this (especially when they’re passed as an ammendment to the constitution, what an abuse!). They require much more careful thinking, especially regarding budgets. So sorry, but we don’t live in a direct democracy.

  4. travelina November 12, 2008 at 1:54 am

    I can\’t wait. A dream come true. Let\’s see if they have the money to do it.

  5. andrew.stegmaier November 11, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    >Opponents to the proposition claim that energy-saving predictions are inflated and taxpayer costs underestimated. If California’s train project reaches even half of its proposed goals of reducing greenhouse gases, dependence on foreign oil, and freeway congestion I think its worth the expense.

    Though it remains a possibility that, all things considered, this will prove a worthwhile investment, the critics are dead right that it an absurdly inefficient way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that, considering all the different ways of reducing CO2 emissions, a reasonable price ceiling for society to pay per ton of CO2 removed is between $20 and $50. Depending on which estimate we use (all of the estimates come from the High Speed Rail Authority itself), the cost per ton of CO2 removed by high speed rail would be between $1950 and $10,050. Thats 39 to 201 time higher than it would cost to reduce CO2 by other means. Not a good investment from an environmental perspective.

  6. fabien November 11, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Is that the French TGV on the pictures?
    I went on http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/faqs/technology.htm but despite TGV is part of the Q&A, nowhere it’s mentionned which train will be used for Fly California project…

  7. adamcreilly November 11, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Great! Cheers California!

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