“Wimps didn’t build California,” claims this pro-high-speed rail video. Instead, California was built by “people with grit”: people like Walt Disney, who hated subsidies so much that he paid extra to have Disneyland get its electrical power from a private company rather than the public power company that served Anaheim.
If you have trouble viewing this video here, see it on Youtube.
“People said the Golden Gate Bridge was impossible,” the video says. It turned out to be possible because it was paid for entirely out of user fees, unlike high-speed rail whose costs would come mainly from people who would never use it.
“They said the Central Valley Water Project would bankrupt the state.” Lo and behold, the state is nearly bankrupt.
“They said BART was a fiasco.” I’d say that spending billions on a transit system only to see per capita transit ridership fall by two-thirds is a fiasco.
“They said the L.A. Metro was foolish.” A 17-mile subway line to nowhere that had huge cost overruns and attracted far fewer riders than expected does sound pretty foolish.
High-speed rail would “create tens of thousands of good jobs.” Actually, high-speed rail would create zero jobs. All of the jobs would be created by taxpayers forking over their hard-earned dollars to the state, which would then give them to people building and running the trains. Just as many, if not more, jobs could be created by using those tax dollars to pay people to dig holes and fill them up.
High-speed rail would cut “greenhouse gas emissions by 3.5 million tons annually.” Not so much; when the full life-cycle costs of building the line are included, and ridership projections adjusted down to something that is realistic, it would lead to almost no reduction in emissions.
The sad thing is that the group that put out this video, the California Alliance for Jobs, once promoted sensible policies and opposed “lopsided investment in transit and smart growth schemes,” as one of its officials told me in 2001. Now it appears all the group cares about is getting its share of the pie.