With record high gas prices, growing congestion on our roads and airports, global warming and environmental concerns, and an economic situation crying out for new jobs and growth, there has never been a better time to begin work on a statewide high-speed rail system than right now.
Thankfully, California's voters will have the opportunity to make this happen in just a few short weeks. Proposition 1A on the November ballot will get the ball rolling on a statewide network of high-speed trains that will revolutionize the way we travel throughout our state.
It's no surprise that both the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle have endorsed Proposition 1A in recent days, since a high-speed rail network that runs from San Francisco and Sacramento in the north to Los Angeles and San Diego in the south will produce major benefits for our state:
- Take pressure off gas prices and lower our dependence on foreign oil. With skyrocketing energy prices and middle class families struggling to fill their gas tanks at the pump, we must find ways to conserve energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. High-speed rail trains use only 1/3 the energy per person as airplane travel, and 1/5 the energy of a similar length car trip.
- Reduce pollution and improve our environment. According to the California High Speed Rail Authority, a statewide HSR system would lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions of 12 billion pounds a year by 2030 as people choose rail over dirtier forms of transportation like cars and planes.
- Create high-paying jobs and grow our state's economy. A recent study revealed that HSR would not only benefit our environment, but would improve our economy as well. HSR would create an estimated 450,000 high paid, permanent jobs in California.
- Reduce traffic and congestion on our roads and in our airports. California's population is expected to rise significantly in the coming decades, putting more strain on our already-crowded transportation systems. A statewide HSR system would eliminate the need to build 2,970 miles of new highway lanes and 91 new airport gates, which will otherwise be necessary to handle California's growing transportation needs.
The benefits of building a statewide HSR system are clear, but it's only with widespread support that we'll be able to invest in this advanced technology and bring an efficient transportation system to California. I've long been a supporter of bringing high-speed rail to California, so I hope you'll help me build support for Proposition 1A. Below are a few helpful resources about bringing high-speed rail to California:
California has long been a leader that sets an example for the rest of our country. With Proposition 1A we once again have the chance to lead America, this time in the development of our country's first truly high-speed rail system -- and it couldn't come at a better time.
California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-SF) is Chair of the Legislative High-Speed Rail Caucus.