Don't block the trains

Dear All

I got this from Fiona Ma. It seems there are some
communities not too happy with the high speed rail
running through their communities on the Peninsula.
They have raised questions on how it is to be built
either on raised grade or tunnels or dug down moats
with overpasses etc. Apparently this questioning of
the high speed rail isn't PC so the powers that be are
trying to short circuit the local communities.

It seems in Fiona Ma's opinion local communities represent
special interests and need to be bull dozed out of the way
of the high speed rail boon doggle.

Special note this petition is sponsored by California Rising a political action committee founded by guess whom - Fiona Ma.

Ron Getty.

Dear Ron,

This is a question, not an argument of any kind. Would it not be good to have mass transit (like BART, Amtrak, etc) than automobiles? Would the Libertarian argument be, "maybe, but not government mass transit" (but there is no private mass transit). I am conflicted in my support for this project.


Dear Marcy

Yes there are some conflicts here. The first problem is the claim that no
government financing will be required and passenger fares will support
the cost factors of operating the system. I don't believe you or I need
to go any further to invalidate that Big Lie.

The other factor here is if it was a viable profitable option private
interest would have weighed in long ago on opening privately funded
high speed rail - anywhere. No where have I found is there such a high
speed rail in any country. Why? Cost factors of operating costs versus
passenger fares it's a profit breaker.

This does not even get into the cost factors of the land to run the
high speed on. Purportedly Southern Pacific/Caltrain would cede right
of way and allow the high speed for various considerations to run on
its tracks right of way. This does not include purchasing additional
right of way on the sides of the tracks which would cut into privately
owned property and have to be bought.

While private mass transit is good the last time such athing happened was when the Northern Pacific was being built and all of it from the land purchase and tracks and equipment was privately financed and it also became profitable.

It's nice to dream that in 20 years or so there would be a high speed train between San Francisco and LA running at lickety split speeds and saving the air from airplane pollution. It's just 30 years too late to
compete with airplanes jetting between the cities. And if they ever got rid of all the TSA BS cutting the time spent being wasted standing in line high speed rail could never compete.

It's all one big boondoggle for so called construction jobs AT PREVAILING NON-COMPETITIVE WAGES not too mention what the union wage scales will be for the train personnel.

Not too mention who's going to build those high speed train engines and passenger cars? Look at all the problems Muni has with its Metro cars and Bart with it's cars getting repair upkeep and maintenance.

Boondoggle boondoggle boondoggle all the way for the politicians and the unions with bones tossed to the enviro earth firsters green the world types.

High speed rail is pure crock of baloney!!!

Ron Getty


San Francisco's cable car system, which was an early form of mass transit, started as a private venture with private companies competing against each other. Eventually, city government hi-jacked the cable-car industry and established a monopoly for itself. Of course, government propaganda tells us that city government saved the cable-car industry from the failures and excesses of private industry.

When private business provides a popular service, government, through taxes, regulations and propaganda (which includes the propaganda that passes for public school history courses) slanders and destroys the private business and takes the business for itself and its unions and forces taxpayers to pay for never-ending, always-escalating government graft. Public transportation will always be a dismal failure.

All the best,



  In general I agree with what you say here, but I think it's important to distinguish "public" from "government." No reason we can't have "public" transit (i.e. companies providing mass transportation services, like the cable car companies of old that you cite below), that is not owned or operated by government. If such public transportation services are provided in at least a relatively free market, I see no reason why they should always be a dismal failure.

Love & Liberty,
        ((( starchild )))

I did not know that the SF cable cars were ever in competition! That is a fascinating bit of history. Yet the cable cars are good compared to most gov't transportation in the US.

In this case, the project makes little sense. The people in Menlo Park, Atherton, and Palo Alto already have a passenger railroad running through their backyards, the old Southern Pacific passenger service, now run by the state as CalTrain. The residents probably don't think the government will compensate them well for expanding the right-of-way. The line has recently cut service, again.

The proposed new line would indeed run faster, but could not possibly make as many stops as the current CalTrain. It would be far more efficient to end the high-speed section at San Jose, or someplace North of Gilroy, and run local trains on the track already in service. It might take a few minutes longer to get to LA, but many passengers could recoup the time in driving to the station.

Harland Harrison
LP of San Mateo County CA

Please tread very carefully on this topic. The LP is already seen as too anti-environment.

Starchild's points about making cars more efficient to match mass transit in efficiency, while allowing more personal freedom, are the best Libertarian answer. Similarly, for the efficiency per speed equation, my bet is that 30 years of research into renewable and efficient biofuels for jets (Branson already has some Virgin jets using biofuels), coupled with getting rid of the TSA security theater, would make air travel as fast, efficient, green, and hassle-free as any high speed rail, with the added benefit of not increasing any additional impact on local communities (i.e., the houses under or near SFO and LAX approaches and takeoffs are already affected and won't be more affected, unlike the houses in the path of and near the proposed high speed rail).

I think that going at this from a "we're too cheap to fund it" angle will just make us seem like environmental luddites. The anti-tax, anti-spending fervor right now is due to a recession when people are tightening their belts. It won't last 30 years, so we can't rely on it to stop the high speed rail project.

Starchild's "individual liberty of passenger car" argument, coupled with a "don't you think we can make equally efficient biofuel jets within the next 30 years?" argument seems like a more SF-friendly and green-friendly argument against high speed rail.


I'm siding with Rob and his concern about LPSF appearing anti-environmental. I would also add my concern about what I have viewed as a public perception of the Libertarian "let them eat cake" attitude. Talk to someone like me, given my limited financial resources, about advanced-technology automobiles, will get you a blank stare! Talk to me about MUNI and BART problems, I would say that economically challenged folks (as well as environmentally conscious better off folks in the case of BART) are grateful for both systems. The problems with MUNI and BART are probably the unions pushing up salaries and benefits beyond what is economically feasible, rather than an inherent flaw with the concept of mass transit, even one financed by taxes.

And as always, as a political party we might want to offer realistic private alternatives to government programs/systems, not simply say "No." Ron is correct that at present there are no privately owned mass transit systems, probably because today's tax and economic environments prevent the accumulation of capital sufficient to establish such systems.


Reason.TV has recently posted a very good report about the economics high speed rail at which pretty much reinforces Starchild's arguments.

Of particular interest is the point they make that even supertrains are not necessarily green, as most of the engines expected to be used in the project will be powered not be clean, green electricity, but with standard dirty diesel fuel.