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$77 billion for the bullet train is a fair price to pay in the fight against climate change

$77 billion for the bullet train is a fair price to pay in the fight against climate change
Crews stabilize girders at a bullet-train overcrossing in Madera County on Feb. 21. (California High Speed Rail Authority)

To the editor: Steve Lopez wonders why we need high-speed rail when we have freeways and airplanes. I have a answer: climate change.

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the state, and high-altitude emissions from aircraft are particularly bad from a climate perspective. Therefore it’s imperative for us to build a sustainable, low-carbon transportation system to link our state together. If we’re not working to reduce emissions from transportation, then we’re not being serious.

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Californians like to see themselves as forward thinking and environmentally conscious. In addition, we’ve been at the forefront of innovation and solving big challenges since the construction of the transcontinental railroad.

It’s time we resurrect our can-do spirit and work to solve the biggest challenge of our time.

Nick Hooper, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Given the huge cost overruns of California’s high-speed rail project, one has to wonder if initial projections were the result of incompetence or fraud. In either case the public has been deceived big time, and I hope we run, not walk, to the exit of this boondoggle.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, never have so few spent so much for so little.

Don Tonty, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Lopez does his usual excellent job of fairly airing an issue, in this case the cost of California’s high-speed rail project.

But people wringing their hands over the price tag seem to forget that as taxpayers are currently funding the most expensive weapons program in world history, the F-35 joint strike fighter, to the tune of $1.5 trillion. That makes $77 billion for high-speed rail look like a bargain.

Building high-speed rail is an infrastructure project that employs lots of people for a long period of time, an arrangement President Trump says he endorses. And while no ordinary citizen will ever ride in an F-35, high-speed rail will produce an environmentally sound alternative to air travel that people can actually use.

Bruce Henderson, Grover Beach, Calif.

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