Thursday, June 30, 2022

The fact that people think a commute might justify building high-speed rail suggests you're probably talking about an exurb


At the risk of self-promotion, if you're not a Californian and you're trying to follow the housing crisis, I'd highly recommend you take a couple of minutes to read A primer for New Yorkers who want to explain California housing to Californians. Particularly...


3. San Francisco is not adjacent to or even particularly near Silicon Valley. Instead it's around fifty miles away. There are people who live in SF and commute to SV but it's a wasteful and completely unnecessary practice. San Jose is nearer and cheaper.


Which came to mind when I saw this story:

$5.3 billion: San Jose to San Francisco high-speed rail costs balloon by over 200%

Eliyahu Kamisher

Plagued by years of funding shortages and spiraling costs, California’s beleaguered high-speed rail project suffered another unexpected blow this month in a new report that more than tripled the cost estimate for the San Francisco-to-San Jose segment to a staggering $5.3 billion.

The new price tag is part of a report that completes a years-long environmental clearance process for the 48-mile corridor that would carry bullet trains down the Peninsula on electrified Caltrain tracks at 110 miles per hour and eventually on to Southern California. It outlines three stops, a controversial rail yard in Brisbane and money allocated to everything from protecting Monarch butterflies to restoring Bent-flowered fiddleneck habitat.

But the environmental document released last week also includes the new price tag for the recommended route through the Peninsula, which is more than three times the figure penciled into the High-Speed Rail Authority’s 2022 business plan.

As for the project itself, I have mixed feelings. California could certainly use more passenger rail, but there are places that need it more and are not as well served by public transit, some of which would probably be cheaper.
But whatever the merits of this line may be as infrastructure, it is an absolutely first rate reminder that most of the California housing debate consists of people (mainly from New York) demanding that we build housing 50 miles from where the Bay Area housing crisis is most severe.

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