A new report, Thinking Ahead: High-Speed Rail in California, from the Center for Urban infrastructure, details the benefits of building a mass inter-city high-speed rail system for Southern California, an area of the state that is sorely lacking in user-friendly mass transit. But the real shocker? The writers of the report suggest that most of the money should be used to link Bakersfield and Fresno, in Central California, an area that is mostly farmland and less densely populated than most of the state.
California is to receive a $2.34 billion investment to boost its economy and urban development plans and the idea is that where there are hubs for transportation, those same cities become economic hubs, which explains the focus on Central California. With the University of California’s newest addition to the system, UC Merced, California has been trying to make something of its forgotten region for some time now, beyond farming. (High density development can’t hurt the property tax rolls, right?)
Obama has already announced his national railway plans and echoing his sentiments, Sarah L. Catz, author of Thinking Ahead: High-Speed Rail in California, says, “Just as the Interstate Highway System transformed the way Americans lived and where they worked in the 1950’s, high-speed rail has the same transformative potential today.”
And the same sprawl-and-mall dangers, we might add.JN