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Are Californians being shortsighted on the bullet train?

To the editor: I think that most people, if asked, would agree that the construction of the interstate highway system was good for the nation and for California. ("Bullet train runs into rising opposition over Southern California routes," June 9)

I grew up watching it spread out across the country. Towns and businesses adjacent to the old roads died or went out of business when the new superhighways bypassed them, and whole new ones sprang up along the new rights of way. Here in Los Angeles, homes were demolished or moved in the name of progress to clear the right of way.

In those days it was generally agreed that such progress was good, so I guess that brings up the question of whether the high-speed rail system is good for California. I can only wonder if in 30 years, people may say how shortsighted we were.

John Trask, Thousand Oaks

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To the editor: Wow, who does want the bullet train?

The bullet train was presented to voters as a rapid, efficient, environmentally friendly way to travel between the major cities in less than three hours. It is now clear that with the changed routes going inland, and areas of shared track with slower speeds entering and exiting the major cities, the mandated travel time is never going to happen.

There have been significant cost increases, huge projected financial shortfalls, difficulties buying land, legal disputes and an ever-lengthening timetable for completion of even the first stages. And now voices from a growing number of communities are raising issues of noise, disruption and negative economic impacts.

The bullet train sounded like a great idea, but it has become a boondoggle that needs to be abandoned before billions are wasted.

Melinda Hansen, San Diego

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To the editor: Having ridden on wonderful public transportation in several European countries, I am a strong supporter of developing our public transportation.

But here's what I don't understand about the bullet train between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area: Why won't it follow the most direct route? Interstate 5 was built for that purpose. State Route 99 remained to connect the Central Valley cities.

The state already has the I-5 right of way. Cities in the valley could connect with feeder lines, starting with the existing Metrolink coming from Lancaster and Palmdale.

I understand the mountains have always presented a challenge to railroads, but Europe seems to be able to build lengthy tunnels. The I-5 corridor would be primarily for trucks and public transit, the 99 primarily for auto travel.

It just seems the route being developed defeats the stated purpose of a rapid connection between the two major urban areas in California.

Karin Rodriguez, Carpinteria

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To the editor: With driverless cars a near-certainty in coming years (probably before the bullet train is completed), is this high-speed rail system, with its huge cost and harm to the landscape, going to make a significant contribution to California?

It seems obvious that California's bullet train will negatively affect far more people than it will benefit.

Don Tonty, Los Angeles

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