Thursday, February 05, 2009

Second Thoughts Coming at High Speed

Yesterday the local newspapers (Daily Post, PA Daily News) were reporting some of the first impacts of the passage of the high speed rail funding ballot measure. Actually, I got into a huge fight with my dad in October about this, mainly surrounding his contention that people who oppose it are "stupid" and obstructing "progress," whatever "progress" is to him. My opinion then, as it is now, is that the benefits are outweighed by the detrimental effects of the project.

From a purely selfish standpoint, I don't know if I would have voted for the project if it were to travel through the Altamont pass in the East Bay, but the current plan to put it through the Pacheco pass in the South Bay really aborted any enthusiasm I might have for it. Proponents hope that they will be able to get stops in their communities to help bring travelers and tax revenue, but the more stops they put in, the less "high speed" the train will be. What's the point of a high speed train that has to travel slow?

Coming back to the cause of my post, the newspapers revealed that people along the Caltrain corridor were told that their homes may be taken under eminent domain to widen the corridor to accommodate the high speed rail line. Some of those home owners had not considered this possibility when they had voted yes on the rail line. In fact, some of the home owners had voted yes on the rail line without even knowing that it was slated to be built along the Caltrain corridor. I pity these homeowners and their shortsightedness ~ I only regret that I had only one vote to give to spare them the trauma.