BULLET TRAINS!

In this marvelous era of modern day communications I would love for the readers of this blog to give me your opinions about your speed rail. Please respond to how speed rail systems work in England, France, Japan or any country in the western world and the Far East. Inquiring minds would like to know  the positives and negatives of  speed rail .

America currently does not have a speed rail system. It is a historic day, though, as Governor Brown of California is breaking ground for the beginnings of construction of a bullet train for California.

The beginnings of a speed rail system in America has not come without controversy as the so-called conservatives are in most cases against it. I find it amazing that they would be against modernity, that they would be against an idea that would bring people in the state and in the nation closer together by increasing the speed of a means of transportation that can help bring about growth and increase jobs substantially.

America has had a storied history of expansion from coast to coast. If it were not for the visionaries of the 19th Century in America, the railroads would not have breached the continental divide and brought our people together. Towns and cities grew up around the railroad. Chicago and St Louis became the hub and the gateway to the west due to advancement in transportation from steamships to the technological breakthroughs that brought us steam engines and then diesel and electric powered locomotives have come to pass. We would not have a true nation if transportation did not provide the avenue to connect our citizens.  Our ability to connect people and commerce has been a tremendous advantage to American prosperity and our way of life. Back in the days of the Robber Barons, the advancement in transportation took place with a partnership between government and business to grow the economy and improve our pursuit of happiness.

Now the advocates of austerity and little or no government are against speed rail in the United States. They argue that government will increase in size as a result, that we can’t afford it and that it is man’s attempt to provide a Utopia on earth. They have no problem with building a jet for our Air Force that costs over a hundred million per plane but they have a problem with modernizing American transportation.

It is hard to fathom why anyone would be against progress, where the lives of people are improved as a result.

There are 3 models to look at as to how a modern railway system can be done. Japan, England and France for example have 3 different models.

Japan leads the way. I believe that , Japan has 143 million people take speed rail each year. They have a privatized system for profit that works well. Their system does not require any subsidies. The railroad system owns the infrastructure, the stations, the tracks and all. They rent out for a fee the land that they own adjacent to the tracks for commercial development. As a result fewer management teams are needed. One third of their revenue comes from the commercial development where you have shopping malls, houses, apartments and condominiums near the railroad system. The profits are used to re-invest in their transportation system.

England has a mixture of public and private investment. Their public transportation system is essential for keeping towns alive and vibrant.

France runs a heavily subsidized system. It is hard to criticize any of the methods used if the people are happy with their transportation system.

California leads the way on many fronts in the United States. Whether we are talking about the freeway system, water delivery or a terrific university system, California has led the rest of the country in more contemporary advancements.

Now California is starting to build the first high speed rail system in the United States.

There are several reasons as to why the time for a high speed rail system is now. At a speed of 200 MPH the time will be cut for people to go from place to place. Speed creates by its very nature greater efficiency. It will only take 2 hours and 40 minutes to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Jobs will be created that will employ many, many people to build the system and to maintain it.

Rural America is dying economically. Greater connectivity will improve their financial position due to new jobs but the speed of travel will allow for places like Gilroy or Fresno to become accessible to people who can live in more affordable communities and due to speed rail they can zip to and fro and work farther away.

For families who own farms, they might be losing some agricultural land but in return the quicker delivery of their goods becomes a greater reality.

The coastal regions and the Central Valley of California will be more connected from a time standpoint leading to more economic stability and prosperity.

It takes money to make money. And it takes risks to make advancement and provide progress for the citizens of each country that has a modern transportation system. It may cost a lot of money but the utility of trains is far more real than any war machine built for ridiculous prices.

If it were not for technology our lives would be far different. Americans are known for their willingness to go to the next frontier. Our frontiers in our history have included going from the horse and buggy to the bicycle to trains, to cars and planes and to the last frontier space travel.

Another advantage to speed rail in California and other states is that it will decrease our reliance on air travel.

We should not shrink from technological advances but advance them when they would clearly provide for greater opportunities for making people’s lives better. It is any government’s responsibility to provide and promote the general welfare of it’s people. Having a modern transportation system is one of those key responsibilities that government has along with having the streets paved and the lights on and working, as well as having a good educational system for our children.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower knew the importance of having a good transportation system and helped provide for our Interstate Highway System.

Here we are nearly 60 years later and we have come to a time, long overdue to develop a speed rail system and join the world of modernity in the 21st Century. You are only as strong as your infrastructure is. It is time to bring back that American spirit of moving on to the next frontier. It is time for America to join the rest of the world and have a modern high speed rail system. Congratulations California for having the courage to move forward and not backwards.

 

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