The Madeleine Brand Show for November 5, 2010

High speed rail coming to California train stations?

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loudtiger/Flickr CC

The Taiwan High Speed Rail, which began service in January of 2007, runs along the Southern Taiwanese coast. According to THSR press release, the rail service emits only 11% of the carbon dioxide emitted by private cars carrying the same number of passengers (25% for buses).

Good news, or at least news, for fans of high speed rail in California. The High Speed Rail Commission says it's combining all the funds it has raised, and will begin construction on the first section of a rail line that's designed to eventually link San Diego, LA and San Francisco. Trains on the line will reach speeds of up to 220 miles per hour.

The passage of Proposition 1 on the 2008 election ballot ensured around $1 billion for fifteen years of development to build a High Speed Rail line in California, but the economic crisis has hindered those efforts. Federal stimulus money has come in to facilitate planning and speed up development of the line that is projected to stretch from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. But is Bakersfield to Merced -- the first planned link -- the best route?

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