What we won’t say
Our opposition to HSR will be evidence-based rather than ideological, and will be subject to change if convincing new evidence comes to our attention. Specifically, our objections will not be based on denying the threat of climate change or on a categorical rejection of publicly funded rail transportation.
With respect to global warming, we have provided evidence that the HSR Authority has overestimated the greenhouse gas emissions savings andunderestimated net emission increases associated with construction. So, from an environmentalist standpoint, the project is not a good use of public funds. Other initiatives could produce much greater net greenhouse gas reductions at much lower cost.
Regarding rail transit, our December 2016 infrastructure study offered evidence to support of further investments in BART and CalTrain. We still believe that CalTrain improvements are warranted, but they should be implemented on a standalone basis and not as part of a “blended system” with HSR.
Finally, we will resist the temptation to rely upon fake news. For example, we have noticed social media posts that criticize high speed rail because Diane Feinstein’s husband owns one of the engineering firms building the system. We don’t see credible evidence to support this allegation, and thus reject it. Feinstein’s husband, Richard Blum, appears to have sold his entire interest in the firm now known as Tutor Perini Corporation in 2005. Because Tutor Perini is public it is required to accurately report the names of its largest shareholders. As one can see from the company’s website and from Yahoo Finance, Blum is not listed among the company’s largest shareholders.
Some existing resources
In presenting the case against high speed rail, we can stand on the shoulders of several groups that have been working on the issue for several years. Although some of these sites are not receiving frequent updates, they provide a large body of research that we plan to update over the coming months:
If you know of others, please send them our way.
A call to action
HSR enjoys solid support from Governor Brown and the state legislature. But with the likely disappearance of federal funding, we believe the candidates to replace the governor as well as those running for re-election to the assembly and senate can be swayed by solid research and strong public pressure.
If you want to help, please send us any original research you’d like us to consider for publication, write letters to your local newspapers, contact your legislators and consider donating to CPC’s High Speed Rail project.