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Readers React: $68 billion for a bullet train could buy a lot of light rail in L.A.

To the editor: The funding, routing and completion date for California’s bullet train are way off track. No one believes we will be riding a high-speed train between San Francisco and Los Angeles by 2029. (“$68-billion California bullet train project likely to overshoot budget and deadline targets,” Oct. 24)

We could make real progress on mitigating our transportation woes if half the $68-billion cost of the bullet train were to be spent on light rail in L.A.

Projects such as the Expo and Gold line extensions cost from $1 billion to $2 billion and take about five years to build. Many others — such as the downtown regional connector, the Crenshaw Line, the Purple Line extension, the people mover to LAX, extending the Gold Line to Ontario airport and replacing the Orange and Silver bus lines with light rail — could begin in earnest if the funding were there.

Let’s spend our transportation money on projects that can make a greater impact on the quality of life for most Angelenos.

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Fred Smoller, Orange

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To the editor: I’m sure readers are shocked by the revelation that building a modern electric railroad system is difficult and challenging.

Will deadlines be missed? Quite possibly. Will some sections cost more than estimated? Also likely.

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But do high-speed rail opponents have an alternative that delivers the capacity of a modern passenger railroad without the pollution and land use? No; in fact, they are noticeably silent when it comes to alternatives.

The 5 Freeway has 14 lanes between the 170 and 118 freeways. How many will be enough? Have the new Sepulveda Pass lanes solved the 405 Freeway’s problem? How many more flights from Burbank and LAX will be needed?

The California High-Speed Rail Authority plans test boring to ascertain the facts about the geology. We should wait for those results instead of rushing to judgment.

Paul Dyson, Burbank

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The writer is president of the Passenger Rail Assn. of California and a Burbank transportation commissioner.

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To the editor: Untold tens of billions of dollars and untold decades, to save time from an hour in the air between L.A. and San Francisco and another hour in airports; and crashing through millions of years of nature to do it. And nobody counts the delays from Transportation Security Administration at train stations.

Who needs to hurry on that journey? Only people on business — but at the expense of most Californians? Aren’t business lives rushed enough?

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The bullet train could help California’s inland cities, but so would roads for driverless cars, closer and closer to reality.

What if these roads were to become commonplace before the bullet train was nearly ready? It would be a bullet obsolete before ever being fired.

Stop this insanity.

Ira Spiro, Los Angeles

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