California high-speed rail builders should learn French
Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 08:25 AM
The first few sentences of this article are really scary, especially from a lawyer who should know better. Americans suffer because we were not invaded by Napoleon.
Maybe the author should read Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France by NR's John Miller and Mark Molesky.
Most developed countries have high-speed rail systems, and some have had them for many years, yet in California - which is bigger than many countries - we are still only designing such a system. One wonders why we can't do this faster. The reason is that this country was never invaded by Napoleon.
As a result, there is no central government administration that simply gets on with the job. When 19th century civic planner Baron Haussmann said there should be boulevards built through Paris, it was done. When the French government decided to build a high-speed rail system, it was done. This is not the California way.
Here, we first design the system. Then we shop it around to all the various political interest groups, until we have 51 percent approval. At that point, the project is unrecognizable. That happened with California's high speed rail system....
The French built the high-speed line out in the countryside for
three reasons. First, rural land is cheaper than urban land, so the
right of way is cheaper. Second, there are fewer roads or other
railroads to be bridged, and so fewer costly overpasses are needed.
Third, in the countryside, there are fewer citizens to be bothered by
the noise. High-speed trains make noise - lots of noise.
This reasoning is the bedrock of high-speed train construction in
France, in Belgium, in Germany, in Italy, and in Spain - in short, in
all the Napoleonic countries.
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