URB350 Final Paper

Submitted By xers282
Words: 1360
Pages: 6

Alexander Lao
The Dream of Efficient Transportation

Can you imagine our country without trains? They ability to transfer goods by ways of high speed-transportation. By the 19th century, its revolutionized our country. Our vast nation was finally connected. Now, there is a proposal to improve one of the needed prompts that will make our country run more efficient. A system of high speed trains has been a possibility in America for the past couple of decades. This would be more than just a locomotive on steroids, but a sleek new design or possibly a magnetic levitating train (Maglev). While Europe and Asia have already taken full benefit of high speed trains, America has sat back and weighed the options. California is the hotspot for the idea, yet there are many who find issues with it. Despite its shortcomings, a high speed rail would ultimately benefit our state. It would create new jobs, bring in new revenue, and eliminate the need for other transportation improvements. The main problem of a high speed rail is that it would potentially not bring in enough money. The general public has concerns it would not find use for it, or find it to be affordable. One example is the route from Washington D.C. to New York, where there is a high speed train called the Acela. Designers initially promised that it would go up to 170 miles per hour. However, this had to be compromised for safety issues. The problem is that predominantly wealthy businessmen use this line. They are the group the train was specifically designed for. It was hoped that citizens might take advantage of it, but they weren’t taken in account by the planners. The possibility in California is a completely different scenario. There are two plans: one system connecting San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and another bridging Los Angeles and Nevada. These routes would entice businessmen, like the Acela, but also many going on vacation. Either of these routes would be faster door to door than a flight (Billitteri). Imagine what it would be like speeding up the scenic California coast, making it to San Francisco quicker than the “quick and easy” flights often advertised. Many would benefit from this. With the bump in population for the high speed rail, there would be further less use of the interstates or airplanes for travel. If this traffic reduces, there will be less need for road and airport improvement. It is estimated that Americans will pay $100 billion for these improvements through tax money over the next 20 years (Billitteri). In contrast, a comprehensive system of high speed rails connecting all major metropolitan areas will only take $42 billion (Billitteri). Though this is still on a grand scale, we would overall be paying less. If only in California, it would only cost a fraction of that. It is true that a high speed rail would have to be subsidized, meaning that it takes in money from the government and our taxes. However, $8 billion of the stimulus plan will go to high speed rails (Kopp), with $2.25 billion of this is slotted to go specifically to California (United States). Also, if we all use high speed transportation, the income from ticket sales will support the system altogether. This would lessen the need for subsidizing, in essence making it self sufficient. Another potential problem is that our tickets would be too expensive, as it would make sense to drive to San Francisco or Las Vegas at a lower cost. There’s so much speculation that has been done on this issue, and no definite set price, only varying estimates. Some see the glamour of high speed trains as an indicator of price. To really know, we would have to test it out to see how much it would cost. In Europe and Asia, many take advantage of their high speed trains. In Spain, it was even affordable on an immersion trip budget. With all this talk of taking money, it would seem that a high speed train gives nothing back. In fact, it really does. Such massive projects require a