I never thought I’d say this, but shame on the Sierra Club. That venerable organization is opposed to a particular routing for the long overdue California High Speed rail line which will someday connect the Bay Area with Los Angeles. [more here] The organization is threatening to sue if another, less convenient route is not chosen as the favored one by planners.
My beef is this – although the Pacheco Pass routing of the rail line may involve a higher immediate impact on certain environmental grounds (read those articles to see what I’m talking about), you’d have to be out of your mind to think that you’re doing the environment a favor by delaying high speed rail in California. This is a classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees and meddling on relatively trivial matters when great progress might otherwise take place. It makes environmentalists look bad and slows down one of the most environmentally beneficial projects in the history of the State.
The Pacheco Pass routing will go directly through San Jose saving time and greatly adding to the appeal of the rail line which will in turn cut airplane usage, driving, and encourage transit oriented development in one of the most sprawling parts of California – the South SF Bay Area. The alternative plan will be slower and skip San Jose altogether, forgoing many thousands of potential riders where it counts most.
The California High Speed Rail line should have been built 20 years ago (not to mention many other lines in the US) but if petty bickering of this nature continues, it’ll be another 20 before it goes anywhere.
Ed note – It seems even Argentina is eons ahead of the United States in terms of transportation planning. A TGV Line will be build From Buenos Aires to Cordoba, apparently in the next few years.