It's election season here at the Telstar Logistics Global Headquarters, and having already expressed our concern about extraterrestrial influences on the man who may well be the next president of the United States, we would now like to draw your attention to Proposition 1A, an initiative that will appear on the California ballot on November 4.
Prop 1A would authorize the State of California to issue $10 billion in bonds to fund the construction of a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Having experienced travel by high-speed rail both on France's TGV and on Japan's Shinkansen networks, Telstar Logistics strongly supports Prop 1A as a worthwhile infrastructure investment. Here's why:
1. HIGH SPEED RAIL IS GREAT FOR OUR ECONOMY
Amid the ongoing financial crisis and the threat of global recession (or worse), now is the time to invest in infrastructure. As left-leaning, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman recently put it:
Meanwhile, right-leaning columnist David Brooks writes:
A major infrastructure initiative would create jobs for the less-educated workers who have been hit hardest by the transition to an information economy. It would allow the U.S. to return to the fundamentals. There is a real danger that the U.S. is going to leap from one over-consuming era to another, from one finance-led bubble to another. Focusing on infrastructure would at least get us thinking about the real economy, asking hard questions about what will increase real productivity, helping people who are expanding companies rather than hedge funds.
2. HIGH SPEED RAIL IS GOOD FOR OUR ENVIRONMENT
Electric-powered high-speed rail is a more sustainable alternative to fossil-powered cars and aircraft. As regular readers of this Internet weblog know... we LOVE cars and aircraft. But high-speed rail gets us to our destination more sensibly. According to the California High Speed Rail Authority, by 2030 a high-speed rail network would offer multiple sustainability advantages:
- High-speed trains need only one-third of the energy than that of an airplane and one-fifth of an automobile trip.
- The system is projected to save 12.7 million barrels of oil per year by 2030, even with future improvements in auto fuel efficiency.
- Electrically-powered high-speed trains reduce pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. The total predicted emissions savings of the California high-speed train system is up to 12 billion pounds of CO2 per year by 2030 and would grow with higher ridership.
3. HIGH SPEED RAIL IS FASTER AND MORE COMFORTABLE
At present, it takes roughly 5 hours to drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and roughly 3 hours to fly (including airport travel time, check-in, and security screening). Using high-speed trains that zip along at 220 mph, travel time between downtown SF and downtown LA would be reduced to about 2 hours 40 minutes. Just imagine strolling into the train station and stepping aboard a train like this:
Just as importantly, however, travel between these two great cities would become vastly more comfortable. Today, the drive along Interstate 5 is long and boring, while air travel is increasingly nightmarish.
In contrast, our overseas experiences with high-speed rail have been notably civilized. For example, here's a view of two happy travelers enjoying the clean, comfortable ride aboard a Japanese bullet train:
3. HIGH SPEED RAIL IS SEXY!
High-speed rail isn't just fast -- it's downright sexy. Check out this view of a Japanese Shinkansen waiting to pick up passengers at Tokyo Station:
Even better, check out this photo we took inside the Lounge Car of a TGV train zipping across the French countryside at 200 mph. C'est super-chic, non?
People, this is California. California *does* sexy. Sexy is what the California lifestyle is all about. Being good at being sexy is one of the Golden State's core competitive advantages. Apple Computer? Sexy! Hollywood? Sexy! Napa Valley wineries? Sexy! Governor Schwarzenegger? Machosexy! You get the point.
To maintain our leadership position, California cannot allow ourselves to be out-sexed by the likes of France or Japan. Without high-speed rail, California will face a Sexiness Gap that will only become more glaring with the passage of time. This cannot stand.
What more is there to say? High-speed rail is cleaner, faster, more pleasant, and more glamorous than current transportation alternatives, and it would provide us with a much-needed dose of infrastructure improvement to boot. For all these reasons, Telstar Logistics encourages Californians to vote YES on Prop 1A.
California High-Speed Rail (Official website)
Yes on 1A (Official website)
(IMAGES:Artists' renderings by the California High Speed Rail Authority. TGV and Shinkansen photos by Telstar Logistics)