US High-Speed Rail Plan Killed Off


Very disappointing to see the Republicans have effectively killed President Obama’s plans for high speed rail.

Congress has voted to kill funds for the high-speed rail programme and Republican lawmakers are claiming credit and gloating that it was a “misguided’ idea.

The president had requested US $8 billion in the 2012 financial year and US$53 billion over six years.

Can we have this please? Ankara to Istanbul high speed built by CAF

The biggest project is in California, where the state is proposing Europe-style bullet trains traveling up to 220 mph between San Francisco and Anaheim. Planners want to start construction of the first phase, from Fresno to Bakersfield, next year and complete it by 2017 but the plan needs state funding.

US news reports say quote California transportation officials estimating that if high-speed train service doesn’t go forward, the state will need to spend $171 billion to construct more than 2,300 miles of freeways, four more airport runways and 115 additional airline gates to accommodate the travel demands of the state’s population of 54 million people by 2050.

The Californian high speed rail authority argues that despite America’s dire financial situation, it can afford high-speed and should.

“Long-term planning, visionary thinking, and the courage and wisdom to act upon what is in the best interests of society, regardless of the short-term consequences, political or otherwise, are the hallmarks of a progressive society.

“Our state and our nation have been built upon the bedrock of healthy competition and prudent risk-taking. It is what has made us an economic powerhouse.

“And given the demands facing this nation over the next several decades it is incumbent upon us to prepare for the challenges of an increasingly flat and interconnected world.

“Transportation will play a major role in connecting us to the future, and we must prepare to do so today.

“Given the current economic and budgetary environment and with the political polarization that has gripped our society we increasingly find ourselves stuck in neutral, incapable of moving forward, paralyzed in the face of large problems requiring big solutions.

“And as we sit idly by our global competitors continue to march boldly into the 21st century. Some say we cannot afford to compete, but in actuality we simply cannot afford not to compete.”

He could be writing about a debate we should be having this election campaign about Auckland rail.




  1. sj says:

    It says a lot about NZ’s lack of expertise that California wants to link Fresno to Bakersfield (over 170 km) by high-speed rail by 2017, but it’ll apparently take till 2021 to link Customs street and Karangahape Road (under 2 km).

  2. John Gilbert says:

    Yes and isn’t this precisely what the US always does, funks real modernisation when the Republicans - say Liberals in NZ, and Tories in the UK, - get hold of power. Just as their Health provision is pathetic, disgusting and scandalous in a country which is always parading and shouting about itself as “The Best.” Ugh, Americans make me sick - all mouth and nothing to show for it!! (Yet we are so often racing to ape their language and practices - e.g. in NZ we see railway stations referred to as “train stations!!!”)

  3. Andu says:

    And we can’t even organize a semi regular Auckland to Hamilton service.

  4. Matt says:

    If you were Californian wouldn’t it be a no-brainer to decide to send your taxes to Sacramento instead of Washington? It would be hard to be a federalist when the red states send their “best and brightest” cough, cough to Washington.

  5. Martin says:

    @ John Gilbert

    Most people here in the UK call them Train Stations too!

  6. Nick R says:

    What is so wrong with the work train? ‘Train’ is also a lot more parsimonious that ‘railway’, one syllable vs. three. To me the word railway conjures up images of long distance trains hauled by steam locomotives. I say I catch a train to get to work, I’d never say I ride the railway to work!

  7. Anthony says:

    I always been confused with the terms “Railroad” and “Train” station so I use both.

    When I think of small suburban stations like Sliverstream, I think of “Train Stations” when I think of large ones like Wellington I think “Railroad” Stations.

  8. Harry says:

    “Railway” has 3 syllables?

  9. Roger says:

    It does if you want to speak New Zild properly!

  10. Roger Rabbit says:

    Did anyone really expect anything from the US commerce Lobby, sorry Republican Party???
    I guess it’s just like the all over again?

  11. Giel says:

    The term Railway Station is old and stems from the days of integrated railways when the Way and Works infrastructure people where largely in command of the Railway infastructure and they owned and maintained railway stations (which were both freight and passenger). It was an age when the railway was not customer centric but engineer driven - particularly by the Civil Engineers.

    It was also a age when freight and passenger functions were often carried out at the same location so a more generic term was appropriate. Today stations are owned by more by the provider or sponser of services eg Regional Councils and are more driven as customer facing entities. Therefore the term in most parts of the world has evolved from the old term Railway Station to Train Station. It is certainly not from America where they used the term Railroad Depot for stations - which was more akin to Railway Station than Train Station.

  12. Geoff Houtman says:

    John Gilbert- when you say “when the Republicans – say Liberals in NZ, and Tories in the UK, ”

    I think you mean “National Party” rather than Liberals. The Liberal Party lasted until 1927.

  13. Mike says:

    That plan wouldn’t have been brilliant. High speed from San Francisco along the route to San Deigo would be an awesome travel route.

    That would be about 500 odd miles and about 9-10 hours driving. A high speed train with stops it could do that route in 3 1/2 - 4 hours. That would be faster than flying (by the time you include check in, security, waiting, going to and from the airport).

    The problem is if they did build that line then you could expect it to be fully overrun with tourists.


Leave a Comment


XHTML: You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>