California Delays High Speed Rail, and also Opposes SF to LA Hyperloop

by Crane-Station and cross-posted at Firedoglake/MyFDL on 9-18-2013

After receiving 70 billion dollars in funds approval from the government for a high speed rail track, not one bulldozer or shovel has touched the ground. There is yet another delay, due to some legal hyper-technicality involving the additional land that the new track will take, if you read the mainstream news. In plain English, the delay means that deals are being made, while government contractors lick their chops at the prospect of even more money for nothing.

But then, Elon Musk offered a solution: a San Francisco to Los Angeles hyperloop.

High speed rail seems to be problematic for republican-type folk, because it doesn’t involve Big Fossil Fuels. So when Elon Musk unveiled his new and updated proposal for a hyperloop, an elevated vacuum tube type of train, naturally, they forcefully opposed it. Musk’s hyperloop would get travelers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just 35 minutes or so, roughly akin to the time it would take one to travel that distance, if one were to travel at the speed of sound. The technology is not new. China and other countries already have these types of trains.

The bottom line seems to be that while republicans do not care for high speed rail to begin with, they sort of had to choke it down, because it is an issue that is popular with voters. There was little choice but to choke down some infrastructure improvements, lest one not get elected. Having done that, the new plan was to spend 70 billion dollars on an outdated rail system, that would gobble land. That was so that they could have an excuse to say they are building infrastructure that is safe, cleaner and super-fast, while at the same time half-assing it, pocketing money, and insulting the poor and unemployed, over rounds of golf.

Tempers flared when entrepreneur Elon Musk had the temerity to update California Republicans’ half-assed, outdated, not-yet-started and expensive plan that only gave an appearance and nothing more. In a statement titled CA High-Speed Rail Caucus: Republican’s Attempts to Block High Speed Rail Would Derail Safety and Economy, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren bluntly summarized the Ca Republican agenda when she stated:

Republicans are pushing a job killing agenda focused on wasting billions in lost worker productivity and energy consumed tied up in highway and airport congestion—money that could be better used growing our economy.

For anyone who has ever lived in Southern California, improvements to infrastructure and transportation is a substantial improvement over living in a car. Spending most of the time on the roads is a life where one eats, changes clothes, talks to people, and makes major life decisions, all in a car; thirty-five minutes is the amount of time it takes to get out of the driveway, on a good day.

What is interesting about the hyperloop, which other countries rely on, rather than the outdated high-speed rail is, everyone could benefit from it. This is a situation where corrupt and non-corrupt alike could agree: jobs, cleaner environment; infrastructure that is kept in excellent condition.

The California balking and rejection of the hyperloop idea is indicative of how stagnant and broken our system really is.

8 Responses to California Delays High Speed Rail, and also Opposes SF to LA Hyperloop

  1. Tzar says:

    I am a huge fan of Elon Musk
    I would tell you guys to also invest in Tesla (TSLA) the minute there is a pull back in price
    it will be a 2-300 dollar stock eventually

    • aussie says:

      Tesla the electric car?

      I don’t like the concept. They need to be recharged, which just pushes the pollution and fossil energy usage from your tailpipe to the power station. They’re unusable if you happen to run out where there is no way to recharge.

      They use lithium ion batteries, which are a fire danger (the electrolyte is a flammable material). The batteries also use a lot of energy in production, are hard to recycle but contain toxic materials that make them long-term unsafe in landfill.

      The hybrid vehicle is the best compromise — it uses very little fossil fuel (so causes very little pollution) as that engine hardly ever runs, it recharges itself constantly so requires a lot fewer batteries. It does not reply on external recharge sources, so is usable in isolated areas.

      • Tzar says:

        you need to do a little more homework or this thing is gonna just pass you right by (along with some serious money making opportunity)

        1. TESLA has started building it’s free super charger network (SCN). They charge the car in half an hour for free and are solar powered completely off grid.

        2. The SCN are supplemented with a fee based battery swap program which can swap out and replace over 2x as fast as gassing up a full tank.

        3. They are growing here and overseas.

        4. When they introduce the under 30k model next year or so, it will be a wrap.

        do your homework

  2. MDH says:

    True conservative economics is not based on liberalism.

    Liberalism is based on the idea that all people of all stripes should have access to capital with the market deciding who wins or loses. It is a philosophy that has liberated people in that new technologies or ideas introduced by social outcasts create “new money” that displaces the old order. Because money is power, the new money forces the acceptance of their social norms that are often repugnant to the old order.

    So the new money behind things like high speed rail is seen as both a threat to the pocketbook and morals of the better living through massive consumption of fossil fuels crown.

    Bear in mind that driving a big SUV on taxpayer funded freeways to a gated community is how “these people” can avoid interaction with “those people”.

  3. colin black says:

    Just watched the movie grassroots based on a doper/stoner/nutcase running for office as a councilman in Seattle on the platform of expanding the beutifull elegant mono rail system of with there was two miles of existing tracks.

    Its silent pollution free an rides above the City on stanchions no wider than taco stands.

    Its a beutifull elagnt system an entailed no demolishing or vandalising of listed buildings an existing for centuries almost neighbour hoods .

    He lost to the incumbent but by only a hand full of votes.

    As to the mono rail city wide solution to traffic he envisioned.

    Was it ever built?

    Good Movie though.

    He liked to dress up as a ;polar Bear at political rallies

    A few years ago we had a monyey elected as mayor of hartlepoole

    Or at least a man in a monkey suite.

    This is a wee history lesson forimpimp you strange but true.

    Dureing the British wars with the French Napolian.

    A French spip was sunk of the coast of Hartlepoole.

    The French Ship had a chimp as a ship mascot an even had it a uniform made .

    Well this chimp made it ashore some how as the only surviviour where upon the locals of Hatrlepoole arrested it an imeadiatly frog marched him into town an hung him as a French Spy they where under the impression this Poor wee chimp was a Frenchman.

    Anyway for years for ever realy people of Hartlepoole were mocked with the truth .

    That youse lot are so stupid you hanged a Monkey.

    An this guy ran his entire Mayrorial campaign on the we hanged a Monkey Party an he won.

    You see in British politics you pay five thousand deposit to run as a candicate an anyone can an call there poliyical party what they want.

    America has the t party we have THE MONSTER RAVEING LOONEY PARTY.

    There leader was a mucisian called Screaming Lord Such.

  4. Trained Observer says:

    Florida voters APPROVED (wisely, I think) a high-speed rail referendum more than a decade ago and big bucks were then spent on feasibility studies and other claptrap. Now GOP Gov. Rick Scott, crook extraordinaire, has turned down federal dollars to get going on what this state needs for people to easily access Tallahassee and other northern destinations from South Florida.

    The United States is so pitifully behind other nations in high-speed rail and other modes of mass transportation.

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