Re “California’s Rail Pokes Along as Others Race Ahead,” by Marc Haefele, Opinion, Dec. 26: To overuse a hackneyed cliche, I share your frustration! The United States prides itself as the nation with the highest technological competency in the world. While this may be true for some technologies, when it comes to high-speed ground transportation, France, Germany, Great Britain and Japan are 30 years ahead of us.
It only took the French a little over a decade to design and complete the first line of the TGV, France’s high-speed train, which is the model for Eurostar. Contrast this development time with the projected 20 years (or not at all) for a similar high-speed train for California. We should contract out our high-speed train project to the French. Then the promise of high-speed ground transportation for California will become a reality in under a decade.
Haefele is correct; California does need high-speed rail between its two major cities. Perhaps more important, Los Angeles needs high-speed rail between its two major transportation hubs. Travel between LAX and Union Station requires three trains and a bus--three transfers and waits. Most world-class cities (such as London, Hong Kong, Frankfurt) have one train to do the job. What madness!