California Bullet Train benefits outweigh cost

With society infatuated with technology and constantly looking for the next innovative creation, it is no surprise the current predicament California finds itself in.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority and California legislators are currently at a standstill as the $68 billion project to build a bullet train struggles to receive both the legislative support and funding needed to get the rail system up and running.

The California Bullet Train would make the 520-mile distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco a two-and-a-half hour trip, reaching speeds up to 220 miles per hour, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

The construction would start in 2014 and would look to be completed by 2028.

Last week, the train’s construction phase was halted as federal judges denied the $8 billion bond requested by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Legislators felt the financial planning needed some reworking, according to Ralph Vartabedian of the LA Times.

But, Jessica Calefati of San Jose Mercury News cited state officials when she said the rail system is “still heading down the rail at full speed.”

With so much taxpayer money at stake, is the rail  financially worth building?

“I think it would be worth it,” said California Lutheran University freshman and Stockton, Calif. native Matt Sommers. “I can’t speak on how much the taxes would be and everything because I really don’t know, but I know it could make getting home much easier for me.”

The proposed “Bullet Train” is an innovative and alternative form of transportation for the people of California. It would connect the northern and southern parts of California and make longer work commutes and travel arrangements more feasible.

However, for every benefit, there is a cost. Taxes are one cost for the people.

“With taxpayers at stake to pay so much money coupled with the multiple forms of transportation we already have in place, it doesn’t seem worth it to me,” said senior accounting major Eric Kagan.

Kagan also pointed toward the lengthiness of the construction process as an indicator as to why it would not be financially worth it to build the rail.

“People want things now. I can’t see people wanting to pay now for something they won’t even get to experience for another 15 years,” Kagan said.

 

“I’m actually surprised it has taken this long,” said Jamshid Damooei,  who has a Ph.D. in economic research.

“If you look around the world at places like Japan and Western Europe, they all have similar forms of transportation, which are more sustainable and better for the environment,” Damooei said.

Damooei also suggested that we, as a country, need a rail system like this to create a smarter form of transportation.

The cities along the train route would undoubtedly see a boom in business with the influx of passengers everyday. The rail system would create job opportunities and get people out of emission-producing vehicles and into a cleaner form of transportation.

This project will create a ripple effect. After this rail is built, similar systems could potentially be built in other parts of the U.S., as well. Despite carrying a hefty $68 billion price tag, the rail would be worth building because it would create economic prosperity and growth.

 

Kevin Post
Staff Writer
Published December 11, 2013