Price of progress

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Back­lash over bul­let train route,” June 9

I think that most peo­ple, if asked, would agree that the con­struc­tion of the in­ter­state high­way sys­tem was good for the na­tion and for Cal­i­for­nia.

I grew up watch­ing it spread out across the coun­try. Towns and busi­nesses ad­ja­cent to the old roads died or went out of busi­ness when the new su­per­high­ways by­passed them, and whole new ones sprang up along the new rights of way. Here in Los An­ge­les, homes were de­mol­ished or moved in the name of progress to clear the right of way.

In those days it was gen­er­ally agreed that such progress was good, so I guess that brings up the ques­tion of whether the high-speed rail sys­tem is good for Cal­i­for­nia. I can only won­der if in 30 years, peo­ple may say how short­sighted we were. John Trask Thou­sand Oaks

Wow, who does want the bul­let train?

The bul­let train was pre­sented to vot­ers as a rapid, ef­fi­cient, en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly way to travel be­tween the ma­jor cities in less than three hours. It is now clear that with the changed routes go­ing in­land, and ar­eas of shared track with slower speeds en­ter­ing and ex­it­ing the ma­jor cities, the man­dated travel time is never go­ing to hap­pen.

There have been sig­nif­i­cant cost in­creases, huge pro­jected fi­nan­cial short­falls, dif­fi­cul­ties buy­ing land, legal dis­putes and an ever-length­en­ing timetable for com­ple­tion of even the first stages. And now voices from a grow­ing num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties are rais­ing is­sues of noise, dis­rup­tion and neg­a­tive eco­nomic im­pacts.

The bul­let train sounded like a great idea, but it has be­come a boon­dog­gle that needs to be aban­doned be­fore bil­lions are wasted.

Melinda Hansen

San Diego

Hav­ing rid­den on won­der­ful public trans­porta­tion in sev­eral Euro­pean coun­tries, I am a strong sup­porter of de­vel­op­ing our public trans­porta­tion.

But here’s what I don’t un­der­stand about the bul­let train be­tween Los An­ge­les and the San Fran­cisco Bay Area: Why won’t it fol­low the most di­rect route? In­ter­state 5 was built for that pur­pose. State Route 99 re­mained to connect the Cen­tral Val­ley cities.

The state al­ready has the I-5 right of way. Cities in the val­ley could connect with feeder lines, start­ing with the ex­ist­ing Metrolink com­ing from Lan­caster and Palm­dale.

I un­der­stand the moun­tains have al­ways pre­sented a chal­lenge to rail­roads, but Europe seems to be able to build lengthy tun­nels. The I-5 cor­ri­dor would be pri­mar­ily for trucks and public tran­sit, the 99 pri­mar­ily for auto travel.

It just seems the route be­ing de­vel­oped de­feats the stated pur­pose of a rapid con­nec­tion be­tween the two ma­jor ur­ban ar­eas in Cal­i­for­nia.

Karin Ro­driguez

Carpin­te­ria

With driver­less cars a near-cer­tainty in com­ing years (prob­a­bly be­fore the bul­let train is com­pleted), is this high-speed rail sys­tem, with its huge cost and harm to the land­scape, go­ing to make a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to Cal­i­for­nia?

It seems ob­vi­ous that Cal­i­for­nia’s bul­let train will neg­a­tively af­fect far more peo­ple than it will ben­e­fit.

Don Tonty

Los An­ge­les

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