from a Forum for the Environmental and Transportation Activist Groups on
High Speed Rail Plans
4/19/99 at the MTA HQ in Los Angeles
by Jim Stewart
California Council on Environment and Development (SCCED)
50 representatives from Los Angeles Environmental and Transportation Activist
Groups were mainly supportive of potential reductions in air pollution and
highway congestion and less need for expansion of LAX. The group focused on
the following issues.
The route along the I-15 corridor could encourage new suburban sprawl, while a
route through Orange County would mainly go where there are already people
Stations should be in existing downtown centers and transportation hubs.
Several people were concerned that the sales tax would mean everyone would be
supporting a system used primarily by businessmen.
Will this promote more livable communities? Can it bring more benefits than
comparable funds on improved local and regional transit?
from the Meeting
Director of Southern California Council on Environment and Development (SCCED),
welcomed the group of about 50 people, primarily from environmental and
transportation activist groups.
Director of Los Angeles office of Surface Transportation Policy Project (STPP),
raised the question of the transportation/land use connection. We are facing
the issues of the Central Valley tripling in population and suburban sprawl
spreading throughout the state. The question is will high speed rail promote
outlying development or help reduce sprawl?
California's population increases, either we build more highways, or a high
speed train network. Will we have stations in the suburbs with huge parking
lots that encourage more driving to the stations? In the city, where will we
find space with huge parking lots? Can it link up with the existing
transportation system? If done well, high speed rail could be useful.
funding for high speed rail compete with funding for local rail? Will we raise
the tax on the general populace or on the users?
are the political realities? Governor Davis called it a Buck Rogers scheme.
Deputy Director of the California High Speed Rail Authority, presented an
outline of the purpose and plans for high speed rail in California: Our
process is to get input from across the state so that the plan speaks to the
needs of all California. High speed rail is important because the state's
population is expected to increase by 50% to over 50 million in the next 25
years, mostly from births to the current inhabitants. Currently many highways
are congested, and airports are close to capacity.
speed rail can move people safely, efficiently and environmentally. The High
Speed Rail Authority is a state agency with the authority to build a system.
However, the financing method is not yet determined. A 1/4% sales tax could
pay for all capital construction costs, then the system would operate at a
speed rail technologies have been in use for over 20 years by the French and
Japanese. They work well at 200 miles per hour, and have been tested at 300
mph. No fatalities have occurred from train malfunctions. Magnetic levitation
technology (called Maglev) could travel faster, but so far it has never
operated in a revenue mode.
proposed route would include the major population areas of San Francisco,
Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego and the fastest growing parts of the state,
including the Central Valley, Palmdale, and the Inland Empire. Anticipated
travel times between San Francisco and Los Angeles would be 2 hours and 52
minutes using steel rail technology, and only 2 hours and 5 minutes with Maglev
speed rail will travel on different tracks but it could operate in rail or
freeway corridors on elevated structures. It will have non-stop, skip-stop and
local trains. It will travel only about 125 mph in the Los Angeles urban area.
We anticipate 52 through trains/day each direction, and could accommodate an
additional 150 trains per day for local service. Ridership projections are 20
million passengers per year by 2015, using steel rail technology, producing
annual revenues of $27 million. The higher speed Maglev technology would gain
more passengers and more income.
complete 676-mile system would cost $23 billion for steel rail technology,
more for Maglev. It would cost about $10-15 million per mile to construct in
rural areas, more in urban areas. Our plan is to secure funding by the end of
2000, requiring a voter measure on the November 2000 ballot.
are now developing our business plan, updating ridership forecasts and
designing corridor plans. We are also looking at the comprehensive statewide
rail plan, with improvements in conventional rail to serve as feeders to the
high speed rail system.
are looking at various route alternatives (see the maps on the website
www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov). We hope to include most of the major airports in
the system. Recommended routes will be presented at the Authority meeting in
Los Angeles on June 16 .
asked about revenues?
Our revenue projections are based on a ticket costing 70% of the airfare from
Los Angeles to San Francisco, but much less than the current air costs from the
Central Valley. So Los Angeles to San Francisco would be $45 one way, and $30
from Fresno to Los Angeles.
Is a sales tax fair way to raise revenue?
This system serves most of the California population, 90% of population will
live near a station. It will benefit all of California's economy, through the
ability to move people and goods rapidly and pollution-free.
are contemplating a sales tax rather than gas tax, which has less stable
revenue. Also some County laws make gas tax not available for non-highway
uses. We anticipate raising $800 million/year with 1/4% for 15-20 years
(depending on our business plan). We anticipate 1 million riders/year,
primarily long distance between cities.
$20-30 billion is an enormous price tag and the MTA says it can't afford $700
million for rail to Pasadena. Could we do it on an interim basis, start with a
conventional upgrade of the current rail system?
Parts of the Amtrak Los Angeles to San Diego corridor run at 90 mph, but it
cannot compete with the car. The U.S has invested $8 billion (primarily
Federal money) to upgrade and grade-separate the NE corridor cost to add tracks
and increase speed and it does compete with airplanes and cars. Now, to get
from Los Angeles to San Francisco by rail, you have to take a bus part of the
way and it takes 9.5 hours. Or you can take the rail coastal route in 11.5
hours. We calculate that a service that would compete effectively with
airplanes and cars would take 3 hours.
is an opportunity to build a completely separated corridor for both high speed
rail and regular freight. It complements the Alameda corridor.
sales tax increment will cover capital costs, revenue in excess of operating
costs will reduce the period the tax will be needed.
terms of the relation with the SCAG proposed intra-region rail, there will be a
application for Federal planning funds by the Authority, that will integrate
both the statewide and SCAG planning need into one application.
Has TransRapid Germany stopped its Maglev system?
City of L.A. Department of Transportation: It may reduce air flights, will it
reduce auto trips?
It will help reduce both auto and air trips. Now the Central Valley and
Temecula people have no decent air service. The short hops are very expensive,
our main airports are congested, we need to reduce commuter flights. Since the
people are already living in the Central Valley and Temecula, high speed rail
would focus growth around urban areas near the stations. It will reduce air
emissions from both cars and planes. It will divert more auto passengers than
air passengers. We have estimates of the number of trips and costs.
Southern California Federation of Scientists: What about a direct LAX-Palmdale
It is too costly to run high speed rail along the 405 and there is less
ridership on that route than from Palmdale to downtown. LAX has looked at
feasibility of a link from LAX to Palmdale and the ridership forecasts are too
low to justify the cost.
El Toro airport, if approved, could have 40 million annual passengers and is
on the Amtrak route. Can you include it?
The potential direct link to Anaheim could be extended to El Toro. We are also
looking at conventional rail improvements in Orange County.
Why not just do a conventional rail upgrade program or do parts of it?
To get a rail system with enough revenue you have to connect the major
transportation markets with high speed service. That's why we are presenting
the 3 major connections: Los Angeles-San Francisco, Los Angeles-San Diego, San
To get a statewide ballot measure passed, you need to show the benefits to the
Southern Calif. Transit Advocates: Do you have strong support from the Governor
and Legislature? I heard the Governor referred to it as a Buck Rogers idea.
The Governor and Legislature cannot formally support it until we have a plan,
but they are talking about it. This is not a Buck Rogers plan, these systems
have been working in other countries for decades. He has people in his
administration who are very interested in seeing this happen.
is true that Maglev is a new technology, but the company would have to
guarantee it would work and post money to ensure that.
You forecast a ridership of 1 million people per year. Those would primarily
be white business people taking business trips. So the rest of us would have
to pay 1/4% extra sales tax to subsidize business trips by white people. I
believe it will be an environmental disaster and a seismic disaster. The
benefits will go primarily to the corporations that build it, such as Bechtel
and Jacobs Engineering. A lot of black and Hispanic groups will oppose it.
Will it promote more livable communities? How will it affect neighborhoods?
Where will the stations be?
The route and station options in the Central Valley are to be determined. The
stations in the urban area will be at the current transportation hubs, such as
Endangered Habitats League: The Norm King article calls high speed rail an
insupportable public subsidy. He says it doesn't help traffic congestion,
there are other ways to spend 30 billion.
We have invested billions into our highway system and more is needed. CalTrans
says they need $150-200 billion for highway maintenance and improvements over
the next 25 years. This project will not end congestion in Los Angeles or the
Bay Area, but does allow you to have some transportation options. You could
get from Riverside to San Diego in less than an hour. This 2 track system has
the capacity of an 8-lane freeway.
SCAG has an application for Federal funds to develop a high speed rail system
within the region.
There is now an agreement that there will be one application through the High
Speed Rail Authority working with SCAG. It is similar to the SCAG proposal,
Japanese bullet train now carries 120 million passengers per year.
A sales tax separates those that benefit from a project from those that pay
for it, a gas tax would be fairer.
SCCED: Using the income tax would be much fairer because the higher income
people more likely to use the rail will pay more than lower income people.
Here in Los Angeles, many taxpayers do not want to pay more for
transportation services, the people are likely to vote it down.
Local transportation is underfunded. We need a lot more money for welfare to
work needs. How did this proposal get started? Who really needs it. It would
be a big benefit to the Central Valley, but not statewide.
It was started by Senator Kopp, from San Francisco, and Senator Costa, from the
Central Valley. There is strong support for it currently from the Inland
Empire and elsewhere.
Sierra Club: High speed rail will help you to live in the Antelope Valley and
get downtown quickly. The result will be to promote suburban sprawl, unless
you can tie it in with location-efficient mortgages so people have incentives
to live near the stations and you don't eat up more farmland and open space.
Who will decide on the route?
The California High Speed Rail Authority, which has 5 members appointed by
Governor Wilson, and 4 appointed by the state legislature, will make the
decision on the route. Past feasibility studies have shown this system will
Now about 45% of Orange County travelers use LAX. How could they use high
speed rail to go to Ontario airport? How would the drive time and high speed
rail travel time compare from Anaheim to Los Angeles, LAX and Ontario?
I don't have those numbers in the top of my head, but we do have some
From a professional planner's point of view, we are developing an
individualized non-integrated planning approach. If you develop high speed
rail, you need a parallel plan for limiting urban sprawl, such as growth
boundaries, so the trains are supporting an intensified urban growth.
It would be better to have the route be where people are, such as through
Orange County, so you are not promoting sprawl, as in the Riverside route. I
suppose that route is less expensive because Riverside to Escondido is outside
If you took an incremental approach, upgrading the current rail system would
not be dependent on a tax increase.
that incremental approach would not get the travel time down to where it could
compete effectively with planes or cars.
The average speed of Amtrak today is 44 mph, which is same as it was in 1930.
Our task is to prepare a statewide plan for a high speed rail system with some
additional conventional rail improvements.
Benzene and other pollution from airplanes into LAX causes cancer in South
Central. How can we can reduce the number of planes into LAX? The route along
the 15 would not get people from Orange County to Ontario. But if you develop
El Toro airport, then you don't need to get to Ontario airport.
This system could link all the airports in Southern California. Now 1/3 of
flights from San Diego are flying only to LAX. A high speed rail system would
reduce that number.
In the San Gabriel Valley, we are concerned about freight lines. You are going
to piggyback on the existing rail system, can you move freight?
We can move light freight, similar to that now carried in planes, but heavy
freight would have to be carried by the regular freight lines.
An earlier proposition for intercity rail got a 80% no vote. What about an
airport tax to raise money to mitigate its own problems, rather than tax all of
It takes federal legislation to allow the use of airport funds for this. But
there have been some federal-state partnerships that have improved travel to
Could a proposition provide alternatives for within-corridor travel, with
conventional improvements between cities?
Our projection is the most revenue will come from Los Angeles to San Francisco
travel. It will be comparable to the total travel time by air from Los Angeles
to San Francisco which is about 3 hours end to end. This system would be even
more convenient for people from San Jose and other intermediate cities.
What about giving the voters alternatives, e.g. build the Los Angeles - San
Diego corridor first?
The feasibility of such a system was determined in 1996 by the High Speed Rail
Commission, so the question for the Authority is how to best implement it. For
example, you could do the San Francisco to Sacramento leg, and Los Angeles to
San Diego leg first.
Southern California Transit Advocates: The people who will fund the campaign to
pass the tax will be the people who will benefit from the project, like Bechtel
and the other big companies. How do you feel when you find out that the people
who are supporting it are out to make a buck, not for environmental reasons.
Can we do this with that kind of allies?
There is no rail system without an operating subsidy, some are being subsidized
at 50 - 90% of costs. The Century Freeway is only 16 miles long and took 20
years to build and took away a lot of homes.
We need a marriage of airports and rail. SCAG is doing various airport
scenarios. High speed rail is assumed. We need a feeder system to get people
to the airports. Rail is an investment in the future. There is a lot of air
cargo at LAX, you could use the cargo to gain revenue for high speed rail.
Perhaps the feeder systems could be funded by County bond measures. The air
passenger facility charge paid for the JFK rail system to Manhattan.
We are looking at feeder lines from San Luis Obispo, and Palm Springs. Our
routes include LAX, Palmdale, Ontario, and potentially El Toro.
Is Orange County supporting it.
The original draft had an Orange County route. Orange County is favorable, but
there is too much opposition along the coast to take that route.
What about using Route 5?
It would be too expensive on the 5 because there is no extra right of way, so
it would have to be aerial all the way.
Every transportation mode is subsidized, including highways. Bechtel will
also benefit if highways are built instead of high speed rail. We need more
investment in urban areas.
CalTrans said to maintain the roads needs $200 billion over the next 25 years.
The alignment to LAX would go along the rail corridor, but the average speed
would be 60 mph.
What stations are you considering?
We looking at Temecula, in addition to Riverside.
How can a person in South Orange County get to I-15 corridor?
You can use the Metrolink corridor to Riverside along the 91. We are also
looking at the option of a high speed rail link through Fullerton.
What about the different technologies?
CyberTran is for short distances. It won't get to 200 mph and it is an
unproven technology, with no revenue-generating system in operation.
will achieve speeds of 300 mph. The Japanese have built a test track, Germany
has plans to build a Berlin-Hamburg line, but revenue-generating system testing
is important. Japanese high speed rail has over 200 trains per day, with less
than a minute between trains. It has to work very reliably.
Moynihan put Maglev in the T21 Federal bill because he wants to have it built
somewhere. It is attractive because it can run through tighter curves and
accelerates quicker than steel wheel technology. We think it is premature to
decide on Maglev technology unless they can put up financing to guarantee it
The French TGV high speed rail uses old tracks and stations.
Conventional trains, including Metrolink, are too heavy to use our aerial high
speed rail tracks, so high speed rail will have to use different tracks.
Southern California Transit Advocates: We need to have alternatives that would
not foster urban sprawl. We need to work with the MPO's to place the corridors
and the stations in the best places. We need to help public to understand the
benefits. The American Institute of Architects is doing a design for the next
10 million people in the Central Valley. We need to show the benefits of the
high speed rail system for those people.
The preferred draft alternative route will be presented in June in Los Angeles.
The public needs to see the numbers to be convinced that no operating subsidy
is needed. You could use a design, build, operate and maintain agreement by a
It is easy to have private business operate a system once they are built with
public money. Even private sector contribution of $1 billion would be a modest
part of the total cost. We will do a detailed financing plan to be presented
late this year.
Who will benefit by the use of this train, and who will pay? The reality is
that all of us will pay, whether we use it or not.
This system is needed for California's future. The question is how do we
handle transportation for another 20 million people? The question is how do we
grow? Does this high speed rail make our state a better place to live?
longer we wait, the more expensive it will be. The cost to build the initial
part of BART was only a few billion dollars for 70 miles, now it will cost $1
billion for seven miles. Is it worth the price for California's future to delay?
urban rail commuter systems need operating subsidies, but air transportation
and high speed rail can make money. Now conventional rail service cost $100
million per year because we are subsidizing a few people to use it.
if you put the money in to build the infrastructure, then the private sector
can operate it at a profit. The airports and highways were built by the
I did a rail station-oriented development study. Look at the website to see
models of station-oriented development.
comments received by phone and email from people unable to attend the meeting:
MPArchitects: I am not able to attend this very important meeting and would
like to give you my comments and concerns.
it is critical that high speed rail has stops in the major city centers,
downtown LA and not have stops in peripheral suburban centers. The
are far more important than alignments. Growth will develop
around these stops and these stops could induce further
sprawl. The best way of thinking about how to plan such a rail
is to look at traditional European Cities and look how all train stops are
cities, not just the TGV. Japan also has a pretty good network of rail stops.
it is important to plan alignments correctly because it is important not to
make breaks or divisions in important wildlife corridors or have them encroach
upon large tracts of undeveloped land- whether natural or agricultural.
high speed rail is an important part of a comprehensive rail
for many reasons. High speed rail can increase the popularity of
rail because it is so efficient, clean, safe etc. It will definitely
air traffic and will decidedly question the expansion of other
not just LAX, but Ontario, Burbank etc. It will do little to
local traffic congestion- only to the extent that there is
generated by airport trips.
high speed rail system must be well integrated into a comprehensive
bus system so that the traffic currently going to airports is not
relocated to high speed rail stops. One should be able to entirely
rail or bus (quickly) from one's home or workplace to a high speed rail stop.
is important to remember that the effectiveness of high speed rail as
serious competitor to air will depend on total travel times. This is
why it is crucial for the success of such a system to have stops in
densest localities within the current city and in localities where
growth is meant to go. Stops need to be located where they have
greatest access for the most people. And certainly future growth
to be contained within existing centrally located urbanized areas
so stops like Pasadena, somewhere in the middle of the San Fernando Valley and
on, are good choices.
it is important not to pit high speed rail against other rail
It is important that it is compared to car systems and, yes, to
systems. While bus systems have a short-term effect on reducing
use, they have less of a positive long-term effect on
patterns. Because bus systems are mobile themselves, they
no effect on solidifying development in certain patterns. Because
is fixed, it can attract and organize development around it which
establish permanent patterns which reduce further suburban sprawl.
Fund for the Environment: It must have accommodation for the disabled, like
the airlines have wheel chairs and porters. To get the tracks off the beach at
San Clemente, they should put them in a tunnel under the water.
Los Angeles Walks: We need a route through the San Fernando Valley, with a
stop in Van Nuys. It would be better to have high speed rail along Route 15
than none at all.
Occidental College: I am very concerned about community and environmental
impacts. I want the follow-up notes and to be included in future discussions.
Community Redevelopment Agency (personal view only): I think this is great
that you are bringing some exposure to this topic and my congratulations to
your organizations for your efforts. I can offer some perspectives to your
Will high speed rail (HSR) promote Sprawl or Not? Absolutely vital question.
The answer is, of course, "it depends"...on what others do.
would say that HSR is a vital and important tool-but only a tool and not
itself a panacea-that developing communities can use to focus,
and add richness of scale to their growth. If the Central
is to be saved from the pressures for sprawl that are
bearing down upon it, HSR will be an essential tool for
communities searching for catalysts to help them create more
transit and pedestrian-oriented districts, villages, town
and what have you around HSR stations.
such "village" every 50-100 miles by itself a Smart Growth landscape
not make. But it can provide a powerful example and stimulus. It
provide an enormous shot in the arm to local transit and
bus systems by providing uniquely active nodes
a unique supply of non-auto using visitors, most of whom will
looking to make a connection to someplace in the local area. Rail
travelers in an environment that can be made uniquely
of the transit choice. Our airports, for lots of reasons,
invariably do not.
self-interest here: A big city (like LA, but Oakland and San
et al. as well) needs to make it easy for people to visit to
the things here that Big Cities do best. But, for an awful lot of
clienteles, we are not easy to get to. You have to go to an
fly, get to another airport-which is still nowhere-and schlep
somehow into the center of Where Things Are. For LA in
inter-city rail is a key strategy in helping realize a lot
urban potentials. Metrolink is a very major step and the City, I
wants to very much continue to enhance the inter-regional rail
But we need another, fundamental tier of rail service. Having
rely up the present array of air, auto and present-day Amtrak
precludes most big cities in California, in many ways, from
think the idea of HSR stations as catalysts for multi-purpose locally-scaled
community nodes needs to get a lot more emphasis and worked up with allied
constituencies. Would it be possible to get the Local Government Commission
involved in this area, as an
of the State's Livable Communities initiatives?
Upgrade or Not: Two responses. First, this is not a question!
course we upgrade and maintain what we have.
But that is not the question. What are we talking about
that responds to the needs and the outcomes we are seeking?
the runways and the gates we give to Southwest Airlines? Are
commuter airlines really going to respond to the needs of the
etc. trips that HSR can serve? Have not the airlines
the last two decades withdrawing what commitments they had been
And even if they reversed themselves to provide these
connections, do we really want to spend the money and
the disruption of expanding the State's regional airports? Will
of that really get us "where we want to go"?
the handwriting been put on the wall with how citizens around LAX, El Toro,
John Wayne and Lindbergh Field feel about these issues? Would we be smart to
have commuter air travel as our only time-efficient option for longer-distance
intra-state travel? How much is this "option" already costing us? (we don't
have the faintest idea!) How much, truly, are the incremental costs of
purchasing additional amounts of capacity (we don't have any idea, but it is a
lot more than what we
been paying-and there is a real question whether the industry could
are we talking about "upgrading" US 101 and/or I-5? How? Doubling
number of lanes? Are these sorts of options truly just
are we, in the long term, essentially committing to
a new system? Why would we support these options with the
they entail in pollution, petroleum dependency, promotion of
and loss of community scale?
are we talking about Amtrak improvements...like raising the speed in
Canyon (North San Diego) or Simi Hills (east Ventura County) from
mph to 25 mph...? ...things that are absolutely essential to do and
have been done a long time ago-but will not, by themselves,
the fundamental response in terms of competitive speed and
that will guide future growth in any smarter direction than
we have today.
think the routes being considered are plainly designed to compliment
inter-city rail services. The Coast route-which really only
Santa Barbara and misses most other population centers, will
on the coast at a scale that is appropriate to that special
The HSR corridors, by contrast, attack the core issues of
in the Central Valley and the lack of connectedness between the
Area, the Central Valley, the Sacramento Valley and the Southern
LA south, my assessment of the issues turns gray. Apparently the
is that HSR could be difficult and disruptive through some
of the LOSSAN corridor, so the I-15 corridor is proposed
HSR would seem to partially duplicate the Inland Empire
routes (although there could be utility to an effective
with Ontario Airport, per question 4). Putting the Inland
at the apex of a LOSSAN/HSR triangle could create a powerful
away from more historic urban centers. I think State policy
uate what we should be doing in that regard.
short, we need to be sure that we are comparing "apples to apples".
are the alternative ways that the people of California can purchase
thousands (1,000? 10,000? 50,000? 500,000?) of daily trip
between these "y" points (e.g. the centers of dozens of rural
and of big cities) with an average portal-to-portal travel speed
excess of 75 mph? 125 mph? May need to benchmark what the
ranges are here.)
should be aware that, in particular, the airline industry and others,
as the trucking industry, will ultimately bring enormous resources
bear against HSR in California. These are both very important
in the State's economy and their rightful roles need to be
the agendas they have pursued in past debates have sought to obscure
true, underlying issues and borne no accountability to the future of
and its citizenry. An enormous effort has to be made to keep
debate centered and not allow people's fears about very large costs
amounts of money (which, in fact, are at stake in any action or
be pandered to.
Inter-City Verses Intra-City Priority. This is an interesting
challenging question. My inclination is to say, however, that they
really two separate, non-substitutable needs. Can we really ask,
we buy clothing or should we buy food?" Does the airline
or the trucking association have to defend itself against, for
the Pasadena Blue Line or MTA bus service improvements in the
Fernando Valley? Are not we, then, being unfair by singling out HSR
do battle in such contests? If we are going to change the rules and
playing field, we need to be consistent and across-the-board.
addition to responding to very different-but, arguably, equally
we can note that the clientele base is very different.
the implied resource base that would be called upon to support
or another option would be different.
think it is also important to note that the playing field is very
here: Where do the status quo players have to go to justify
State-wide operations? Do they have to endure a plebiscite for
long-term public cost burdens for, say, grants from the US
and Airways Act, long-term municipal bonds, subventions from
Of course not. It is a game of selective divide-and-conquer,
entirely out of public view or scrutiny. We do not have a State
of Transportation that has generated a State-wide planning
that would promote these cost-effective choices. In the
we will just have to make do-but recognize that
initiative is very highly penalized in this area. The
structure has the effect of powerfully conspiring on behalf of
I believe that in the case of HSR, there is something
different about this question than when we ask it (if we
of the status quo. In the contemporary environment, the debate
inter- and intra-city typically involves an inter-city element
is often destructive to the best intra-urban choices. More airport
supply capacity, but markedly diminish livability and, as
before, are biased against transit choices. A new
adds capacity but not a scale that reinforces community
and values. With inter-city rail alternatives-whatever the
configuration-there is the potential for a powerful,
synergy. We typically do not have a way of
this into the equation. We need to work on framing this.
HSR Reduce the Imperatives of Airport Expansion and Help
Ground Access Congestion? The short answer is "yes, of course".
caveat is "...depending upon whether all involved can work together".
airport authorities will insist that they really want to
an "optimum" transportation balance. But with no other choices,
is an empty platitude, since there is nothing else to "balance"
Will they readily accede to a more calibrated role, should HSR
to help them achieve broad transportation goals? Not likely.
have fought transit as a threat to rental car revenues; sharing of
"core business" can be expected to be fought even more vehemently.
another example of a failed State mandate for a transportation
cargo, the fastest growing component of ground access traffic, could
benefit from a railroad (electrified, grade-separated,
to one or more intermodal transfer yards. LAX was
such a railroad for passengers between LAX and the
airport. That could take a lot of truck traffic to better
less congested locales.
is not discussed much (outside of one technical report from the
Commission), but HSR would appear to have significant potential
the some of the same kind of cargo now carried in aircraft. Mail
high-value small parcels, for instance, which