Rather than partake in the typical booze-binging spring break run to Mexico, fifty college students from all over California converged in San Francisco to show their support for the proposed statewide high-speed rail system.
The students are members of CALPIRG, an environmental-advocacy organization that has set approval of the high-speed rail project as its top priority. They kicked off their tour in San Francisco on March 24th, and for the next four days continued along the proposed rail route to Sacramento, Stockton, Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The students met with mayors, state senators, and members of the press along the way as they worked to spread their message.
The group pedaled for much of their journey, outfitting their bikes frames with custom billboards proclaiming their support for the state’s high speed rail project.
Check out the video of their state tour, after the jump.
A better solution is on the table. High speed rail will allow Californians to travel from the Bay Area to Los Angeles in two and a half hours, without the hassle of the airport. High speed rail is predicted to take up to 92 million drivers off the road annually and attract 18 million travelers who would otherwise fly. In doing so, high speed rail would eliminate the need for construction of 2,970 additional highway miles and 91 airport gates.
In fact, although the price tag of $40 billion to build the entire route may seem daunting, developing high speed rail will be less than half the cost of the road and airport expansions we’ll need without it. For example, just meeting interstate requirements for Highway 99 in the Central Valley and widening it to eight lanes would cost between $20 billion and $25 billion.
The California High Speed Rail Authority nailed down the final route for the line this past December. Trains are slated to run from San Francisco to Los Angeles, with branches connecting the Central Valley and San Jose. The missing piece is the funding; Californians will decide whether the project gets the go-ahead this November when they vote on a $10 billion bond measure.
The travel time between LA and SF would be about 2 ½ hours, compared to over 6 hours by car. The price tag of $55 is cheaper than flying. When you factor in check-in, security, and the necessity of arriving early for flights, the rail option beats the pants off of airline service. Rail stations will be in city centers as opposed to out-of-the-way airports, adding to the convenience.
Train travel also comes out way ahead in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and minimizing damage to the environment when compared to car or air travel.
Via NBC news.