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skipping_bakersfield23 karma

As someone who frequently travels between LA and SF, I am trying to understand what the value of the HSR is. I regularly use the both the LA Metro system and BART/Muni in SF and was excited when I first heard of HSR plans in CA. But this doesn’t seem like the right solution. Can you convince me otherwise?

The proposed HSR will take 2 hours, 40 minutes to do from SF to LA (with driving, going through station, etc, I estimate 4h door-to-door) for an estimated ticket price of $86. A flight takes 55 minutes (with driving, airport times, etc, it typically takes me 2h 30m door-to-door) and I usually pay $65 for tickets. With TSA Pre and CLEAR you only have to show up at the airport 25 mins before departure; with a train I’d probably risk 8 minutes before departure. I can’t see me or any of the regular business travelers I know using the proposed HSR.

Why would we allocate $86bn for a slower, more expensive solution?

When voters approved it, the projected cost was $33bn. However, most people believed that the HSR Authority was not telling the truth on cost. It has since skyrocketed to $86bn.

Our cities need subways and other forms of public transportation. We could re-allocate the $86bn to the cities to build out local public transportation. Wouldn’t giving that money to the cities be a drastic improvement in sustainability? (And the amount is large enough that there obviously is a tradeoff!)

Also, given the HSR Authority’s history of untruthfulness on the cost of the project, why should Californians believe the current $86,000,000,000 figure will stick? Especially since other agencies like LA Metro have proven to be able to build on-time and on-budget and are more responsible stewards for the resources we’ve worked so hard for.

If it were high enough speed to be useful—like a maglev or hyperloop—I’d take it every day of the week. But as-it, it seems like a scam, taking money from the projects we need for sustainability and allocating them to projects to enrich contractors.

skipping_bakersfield4 karma

For me, LAX is closer than Union Station, but we'll call the the same on average across people (though having both LAX and Burbank is a win for airports with no Westside stop for HSR). I usually do get to the airport 30 mins before my flight whereas I'd probably get to the train station 10mins before, so that does save ~20 mins (at least until someone tries to bomb a train and the TSA adds similar delays for trains).

I agree that the train is nicer in terms of walking around.