Be aware: GJEL Accident Attorneys commonly sponsors protection on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Except famous within the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys will not be consulted for the content material or editorial path of the sponsored content material.
Steve, one in every of my oldest associates, came visiting from Portland over the vacations.
Sadly, he flew on Southwest. He and his household ended up stranded in Sacramento due to the airline’s nationwide meltdown.
If California have been like Germany, France, Japan, China, or principally another developed nation, this is able to hardly be an issue: they’d simply take a prepare again. The truth is, they most likely would have taken a prepare within the first place. However given the states’ circa 1860s rail infrastructure, principally the equal of grime roads, they’d no selection however to lease a automobile and drive dwelling, a few of it in harmful, snowy circumstances.
Sure, Amtrak has a prepare referred to as the Coast Starlight between the Bay Space and Portland–I’ve taken it myself, when I’ve time, simply to benefit from the surroundings. However the prepare runs as soon as a day and takes 16 hours to finish the journey. As a result of it shares the single-track route with freight trains, it’s regularly delayed, incomes it the nickname Starlate.
Additionally, it was offered out.
Driving, alternatively, takes 9 hours.
In Europe or Asia a prepare–only a regular prepare, not even high-speed–would do the identical journey in six or seven hours. And there could be a number of departures every day. Trains don’t find yourself in pileups due to unhealthy climate. And my pal would be capable to get some work performed. He may also have a beer alongside the best way. Or he and his household may journey in a single day, moving into mattress in Sacramento and waking up in Portland.
However that is Amurica the place we will’t have such good issues.
In fact, the one main effort to construct an all-new, totally trendy intercity rail line within the U.S. is California’s beleaguered however well-under-construction high-speed challenge between Anaheim and San Francisco. There’s no scarcity of oil-funded, anti-rail propagandists bemoaning its $70 billion price ticket (Southwest itself has lobbied towards high-speed rail, no shock). In the meantime, the state continues to spend its $30 billion transportation funds (adjusted for inflation) each freakin’ 12 months nearly solely on automobiles. And that’s on an enormous, layered freeway community that’s been constructed out a number of instances over the past half-century. California alone spends round 30 instances extra on automobiles than a typical Amtrak funds for all the nation.
In the meantime, the state’s skeletal community of sluggish, outdated rail strains limp alongside, perpetually underfunded, surviving on desk scraps. Down in Southern California, tracks between Los Angeles and San Diego wash out every time there’s a storm as a result of whereas there’s all the time cash to widen I-5 and different freeways, in some way there’s by no means sufficient cash to realign the tracks inland.
There’s some excellent news. For the primary time, beneath the Biden Administration, a large chunk of the federal transportation funds goes to rail–to the tune of $66 billion. That’s unprecedented on this nation; and but the nation will nonetheless spend 10 instances that a lot on roads and airports. Both method, $66 billion is not going to go far in making up for a half-century of neglect.
My pal Steve made it again to Portland, nevertheless it was a tiring and threatening journey on slippery roads. So as to add insult to damage, American infrastructure is so oriented in the direction of driving and flying, that he and his spouse needed to drop off the rental automobile on the solely place that might take it–the airport.
The Southwest meltdown was one more warning of the hazards and indignities of relying solely on airplanes and automobiles for intercity journey. The U.S. must comply with the European and Asian examples and develop a extra resilient, combined passenger transportation system that features actual investments in rail. And California high-speed rail could be the seed to get that began.
Leave a Reply