Letters: How to spend $3.5 million a day on the bullet train
Your article on the feasibility of mounting a construction effort that could put $3.5 million of work in place each day was unduly negative.
I worked on the Alameda Corridor and on the Utah I-15 programs, which showed the feasibility of delivering large civil works projects on an aggressive schedule. While they did not reach the peak volume planned for California’s rail project, we have seen this volume in L.A. during the peak years of rail construction in the early 1990s. This program was operating at well over $3 million per day.
Tunneling beneath Los Angeles while also building light rail and regional commuter rail lines involved far more complexity than the first phase of high-speed rail construction will.
There is tremendous capacity available to progress this work right now, and prices are highly competitive. We just need the leadership to press on with this important public investment.
The writer was chief of rail construction for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority from 1990 to 1994.
We are supposed to trust the California High-Speed Rail Authority to effectively and judiciously spend $6 billion in five years.
This is an agency that has grossly inflated
ridership projections and performance estimates and underestimated costs of construction. Plans have changed as original schemes proved unworkable.
It’s time to pull the plug on this consummate boondoggle and the incompetent agency that struggles to manage it.
At some time in the future, bullet trains will have to be built. But not now, when driving down Wilshire Boulevard and practically any major road in L.A. is a transmission-dropping experience, schools are underfunded and the governor is asking for tax increases to close a $16-billion deficit.
At some point projects become so large that it is virtually impossible to predict what will go wrong, but it is possible to predict that something will go wrong. The bullet train is such a project; it should not be constructed under pressure.
Karl F. Schmid
A cure for the common opinion
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