Derail costly, unsafe high-speed rail plan

In 2008, Californians approved Proposition l-A, "The Safe, Reliable High Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century."

Planners plot blended rail -- high-speed rail on Caltrain's tracks between San Jose and San Francisco. They would spend high-speed rail bond money to electrify Caltrain.

With Caltrain's 43 grade crossings and many suburban station platforms inches away from speeding trains, adding high-speed trains on Caltrain tracks would be neither safe nor reliable. Accidents and vandalism would breed casualties and prolonged train delays.

Far better, safer, more reliable, and less costly:

  • Upgrade the Union Pacific/Amtrak Mulford route from Santa Clara to Oakland.

  • Add a San Francisco Bay rail hub transfer station in Oakland at the BART overhead (Interstate 880 at Seventh Street).

    Let the voters decide on Caltrain electrification as part of five-county BART and BART around the Bay.

    For these and other reasons, I strongly support Judge Michael Kenny's decision giving us a badly-needed reprieve.

    Robert S. Allen

    Livermore

    Allen was a BART director 1974-1988 and retired from a career in railroad engineering and operations.

    Now we're stuck with the project


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    Unfortunately, Judge Michael Kenny's ruling did not halt the project.

    Thinking that might be the case, the High-Speed Rail Authority, prodded by the construction companies and the labor unions, made sure to sign an almost $1 billion contract just hours before the ruling. Now we're stuck.

    This project is the epitome of out-of-control government spending. The unions and the construction companies are like pigs lining up at the taxpayer-funded trough to take our money for a train that will never pay for itself and that will continue to spiral over budget.

    Does anyone think the current $68 billion cost estimate is really what it will cost in the end? Can anyone say "Bay Bridge?"

    The judicial system was our only hope, since the politicians, who are beholden only to the special interests, won't stop this farce.

    Mike Stewart

    Oakley

    Has been bad deal from beginning

    Did any one really need a judicial finding to know that the current cost estimates for the high-speed rail system were going to exceed the price tag that was approved by the voters back in 2008?

    I'm willing to bet that with the completion of the new east section of the Bay Bridge, we will now see the governor and the High-Speed Rail Authority pushing harder and harder to get this thing built no matter what the voters may now feel.

    I thought it was a bad idea back in 2008 and still believe it is a bad idea and of little value to all of the taxpayers of California since we will wind up paying for this albatross.

    Morris Soublet

    Hayward

    Hyperloop makes much more sense

    Yes, high-speed rail has gotten way out of hand. So far, it far exceeds the initial cost estimates, and now I hear the cost of riding will be higher than expected. Also, I was really disappointed when I heard they were going to make a traditional train with axles and wheels, which make noise and wear out.

    I much prefer we study Elon Musk's proposed Hyperloop. This is a maglev train, so fewer moving parts to wear out, and is estimated to cost less than 10 percent of the high-speed rail. Also, it goes more than three times faster than the high-speed rail.

    When you think about it, what's the point of making transportation that goes at 200 mph to replace airplanes that go 500 mph? Let's improve on it and use the Hyperloop and go 700 mph. Even if the costs quintuple, it will still cost half of the high-speed rail.

    We have to plan and design for the future, and "The Jetsons'" approach makes much more sense.

    Jim Cauble

    Hayward

    Grateful for judges' political independence

    The judges have experts and many more resources than I have with which to make this decision. I will defer to them. I am grateful, however, that we have such an oversight process in the citizen's corner. Hurrah for independent judges. One more reason to keep politics out of the process of selecting judges.

    It is difficult to determine judicial independence since some are political appointees and others run campaigns on hot-button issues such as "tough on criminals." Since the Gore v. Bush decision in 2000, we see what politicizing the Supreme Court has become.

    Citizens must elect mainstream candidates to executive positions and hope that the governor or president will select intelligent and reasonable people for lifetime tenure. The importance of this cannot be underestimated.

    Anne Spanier

    Alameda

    People voted; judges must not interfere

    The people's voice must be heard over that of a judge's opinion. Judges have too much power. I would like to know who gave them the power to act as a god in these matters. The people's vote on any issue must be the final decision in all cases.

    Robert Beaudreau

    Fremont