Friday, 20 April 2007

High Speed Rail

High Speed Rail, three beautiful words. I just have one question, "What's taking so long?" There's some really cool computer generated animation here folks.

According to one statistic, we use 320 million gallons of gas per day in the United States. That works out to roughly a gallon of gas per person per day. Now this next bit is not scientific research, it is educated conjecture. Let's suppose for a moment that half of that fuel is used for industry and agriculture. That leaves us with half a gallon that we can assume is used mainly for personal transportation. Now let's imagine for a moment that half the current motoring population of California makes the decision to go car-free, or car-light. We now have a quart of gasoline per California resident that is being conserved. Now for the sake of argument, let's give half that away and say we have only a pint of gasoline conserved per day per resident of California.

Following me so far? The price of gas in CA is roughly $3.30 per gallon as of today. There are about 35 million residents in our lovely state. According to our rather conservative estimate of a pint of gas per resident, that gives us a figure of 4,375,000 gallons of gas conserved per day by choosing not to drive our cherished automobiles. Multiply that amount by the cost of fuel and you'll see a savings of 13 million dollars per day. After a year that is an astonishing savings of 4.79 billion dollars! In a span of seven years the savings in gasoline alone could fully fund such a multibillion dollar project such as the California High Speed Rail. If this money is redirected to such a project, that means that it could presumably be constructed with no extra cost to the residents of California and without ballot measures or bonds. If such savings would continue to be used for building of infrastructure and paying for the costs of the operation of such high speed trains, such subsidies would make such travel affordable to all citizens of the Golden State.

We have not even begun to talk about the number of high paying jobs created by such a project, and the way in which the California economy could be stimulated. We are long overdue for such visionary projects. Our bridges here in SF Bay were built seventy years ago! We cannot afford to wait for the rest of the country. Once again, California will lead the way.

Imagine taking a trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours, for let's say, $40 round trip. None of this is a pipe dream. Such a scenario is completely feasible.

1 comment:

sfmike said...

And I'm with you on this one, totally. You're right that the only real question is what's taking so long.

Of course, if it takes ten years in San Francisco to close down one little stretch of traffic on Saturdays in Golden Gate Park, and we're still "thrilling" to the Blue Angels, attitudes really haven't changed much about burning hydrocarbon molecules. Oh, well. Keep chugging.