California's High Speed Rail Will be Profitable, Require No Gov Support to Run: New Report

CA High Speed Rail Authority/Public Domain

You may have heard this news already, packaged in a slightly different way: News agencies across the nation are reporting that a 'business plan' for California's high speed rail line has been completed, and estimates show it will cost nearly twice as much as originally projected. Almost $100 billion! What's more, federal funds are drying up, and critics are still angry that the initial segment was installed in the lesser-populated Central Valley. It's a disaster! A disaster!

Or at least you'd assume as much until you read to this part: "The plan also says the system would be profitable even at the lowest ridership estimates and would not require public operating subsidies".

Wait, this whole thing would work? And work well? As in, after the initial investment, the entire system would pay for itself and then provide a much-desired, low-carbon transportation alternative to the people of California? Then how come the stories, like this one from the AP, are leading with how expensive it would be, and burying the fact that this is a cash-positive investment for taxpayers?

Because that's just no fun. The collapse of Solyndra made green-bashing something of a fad for the news media, and sent them rushing to find more 'scandals' -- even though, to this day, there's still no evidence of any illegal activity in the Solyndra affair at all. And so we get efforts like this and this, that try to paint the CA rail plan as a boondoggle -- when the findings of the actual report they're citing reveal it's anything but.

Yes, CA high speed rail may be more expensive then originally accounted for. But it's still been found to be a really sound investment -- and don't forget, there are tons of saved costs that this plan doesn't account for. The reduced traffic congestion and the lowered health costs from less air pollution spring to mind. High speed rail is still a great idea -- let's not allow sensationalistic detractors to spin the narrative away from the facts.

Tags: Trains | Transportation