tv Equal Time PBS May 14, 2011 2:30pm-3:00pm PDT
% high speed rail is said to unite northern and southern california, the voters approved it and the obama administration funded it and the training should be on the way. cannot afford this project. >> some california residents want to put to brakes, we will look at high-speed rail on this edition of equal time. >> on san jose university you are watching equal time exploring new issues each week giving equal time to competing points of view. welcome to san jose state university and this edition of
equal time i'm bob rucker. some people love the idea of going from one place to another fast without going to the airport. some people are worried about the price tag, $40 billion. we will look at both sides beginning with those that want to derail the system. >> i don't know how you do that -- >> inside the library residents are learning what they can do about something they see as a threat to their neighborhoods. it's about something that 60% of them voted for, high-speed rail. >> we can decide for ourselves what work force us and you cannot just drive it through the best of california's communities. >> depending on where the rail will be located home and business owners throughout northern california fear
changes to their towns. >> this is -- this is smells of big business and doing something to make money and not good for the common people. >> this man said his land will be taken and replayed by the rail right of away and believing that california is better off without it. >> cannot afford this project. it not a value of whether it's going to ever be ridden. california is not growing at the rate that they were projecting and the ridership numbers are fake and it will never run without subsidies. >> the train stops more than two dozen times between destinations but some of the stops are not cost efficient. >> people are going to want to stop in redwood city when they are eight minutes away from
somewhere else, do you think that downtown redwood city, i love the city but that is ridiculous. >> voters were as giddy as kids about the possibility of super fast travel. when proposition one a was voted for the project was ready to begin. the costs is have risen and people want answers. a group appointed to run the project and it's projections have been asked to tell them how they come up with their numbers and demanding financial updates and community outreach efforts and address some management problems. >> now there's no mechanism to force the kind of accountablity to high-speed rail authority
that they need if they will prove that they can delivery a credible project. >> the former governor vetoed the proposal saying it would be added pressures on already tight deadlines. >> the project needed crediblity and trust with the project and now is the time, in the absence of those crediblity and trust issues, it's not the time. >> they plan to build a elevated platform in san jose. environmental attorney gary patton is part of the legal team and the planning and conservation team that say they want it done right or not done at all. >> you have to look at the alternatives not just brush them off and the authority knows what they want to do and get out of the way because they are doing god's work, that is
how they look at it. >> some city officials say a high-speed rail, if it has to go through their tonight it should be in a covered trench. supporters say it will move california into the future and connecting the state more efficiently than april travel but for some it's not so admi rable. >> in palo alto it would create a wall that would divide the community on an east west line. >> many people enjoying the good life on the peninsula say that it's not more than a case of not in my backyard, they say going through with the current plan in this bad economy would be like throwing money into the deep end. >> when we come back we will take a look at the design and benefits of this speedy system is. >> benefits are multiple.
from the station in san jose, it can take 10 hours on amtrak to make it to la, compare that to the plans high- speed rail that promises a trip in just two hours. this commuter goes to la and catches a flight to houston. >> i'm looking for a way get to lax or san jose and i live in central california so it would be nice to have a way to get there efficiently. >> and get there on the government's dime. the poll in february say that 70% responding support state and federal funding for high- speed rail. >> it's being able to get home and not having to take off time from work and it would make things easier. the all goes as planned
construction will be in 2012. >> the $9 billion that voters approved will be well-spent. >> it's a good deal. california voters put up 20%, the rest of the people in the united states and private industry and so on put up the 80% and california gets a high- speed rail system. some of the federal money that was bound for the rail in other states is heading to california. re-- denying by other governors means more money for the california rail and 160,000 jobs and the other up side is the environment. the united states creates 30%
of greenhouse gases, and the rail would be electric run, deceasing the use of oil and smog production from cars and is and -- from cars and planes. >> so linking high-speed rail makes perfect sense, you can move people and goods through a system that takes out the time and inefficiencies and making better uses of resources. >> the airport communications director said the air port will will lose short haul transit and that means that less oil
being used and better for the environment. >> another projected benefit would be to improve california's economic status. >> we have to catch up if we intend to continue to maintain our position as an economic leader in the world. and high-speed rail is the single most obvious way to accomplish that goal. >> even the high-speed rail comes to california it may not put the country on the fast- track map. currently china leads the way with 2, 800 high speed rail lines. the question is, will california lead the way as we enter this high-speed rail age. >> we will sit down with experts to hammer out the details of the high-speed rail system. when equal time continues. ,
% welcome back at no point camp us of san jose state university and this edition of equal time our focus is high-speed rail and we have a high powered group that cannot wait to start talking to let's get introductions. >> my name the mark and i'm a retired old guy from menlo park and i've been a student, full
time student since 2003. >> go ahead. >> i'm an attorney based in santa cruz and i represent the planning and conservation league and community on high- speed rail issues. >> my name is sam and i'm a city council member representing the downtown district of san jose and we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of high-speed rail in san jose. >> i'm the director of the transportation institute in santa clare and i am very, very determined to see high speed rail in california and other places in the united states. >> the voters said let's do it. what is the problem? >> they are not doing it. the problem is that the idea is a great idea.
it's a great supporter of -- rob is a great supporter of that, but designing and constructing and operating and managing the system, they are not doing a good job and i mean by they, the california high- speed rail authority, they are not doing a good job and it's either do it right or do not do it at all and unfortunately they are not doing it at all result. >> what do you think? >> i think that gary is not accurate in terms of all of the aspects on the high-speed rail program. the engineering firms are the best ones in the world and they are doing the work. unfortunately, we have had difficulty communicating with the community. sometimes they community in conflict with the board and the community and that has caused
confusion, we still have to build the project and we have to work with those engineering firms so we have to figure out a way to make sure that the communication occurs more effectively in the future. >> marty? >> i should say that i also like high-speed trains. i've been on one and one of the reasons i have is because i can afford it. it's luxury rail, it's the most expensive train ticket you can buy anywhere in the world. and we need to keep that in account when we see a project like this. we are becoming the state with the high speed train and low speed schools. it's a zero sum game, there's only so much money in the world and this will be a consumer of funding. let met put that in the form of a story. i lost my job, i'm unemployed.
my credit cards are maxed out, i cannot make my mortgage payments but what i'll do is borrow $300,000 buy a sports car. what sense does that make? that is a comparison to what this is like. >> to the contrary it has the ability to leverage funding in a way that no other project in the country is able to do. we know obviously that the voters in the state of california are willing to make the investment. and we have a president that is willing to make the investment and is challenged right now with a congress that is divided over this. but it will get built and with the help of the private sector and the federal government, that will build a project at the time when we most need the jobs and have employment rates
that are down and it's critical that we move forward now. >> it not a train project or a transportation project it's a jobs project, right? >> i disagree, it's a transportation project and it's a sustainable project, you cannot tell me that other industrial countries can afford to build a high-speed rail program and the richest state in the richest nation in the world cannot afford it. you cannot tell me that. >> let me tell you that, because if you go on the community coalitions for high- speed rail website, which is www.dc-dot.org, you will see leaders from peninsula and leading economists from stanford that points out that there's not a plan in place to make it work financially.
it could be done if it would were done right, ron, but they not have is a plan to do it right. >> that is false. the plan that is required to be in place does not have to please a professor in stanford or please a pseudo-expert, it has to please the federal core of engineers and the united states epa, those are the review organizations the plan that is in place now was done with the model that is acceptable to those organizations it was done by a, firm, using the model for federal review for these programs and when it was given to the experts, even the professors that were critical of the model felt it was appropriate and saw no evidence of bias and they did not know
whether or not the model was accurate. >> i think the public may have a concern, we believe you but we know there's misinformation occupant there about all things. as a person from the community, how do you think people see this? do you think that they feel that the government does not get it and not listening to them? >> the voters supported this, and that is the reason for building the train. what the voters voted for was a 33 billion-dollar project where tickets were $35 to go from san francisco to la and it was going to carry 117 million riders annually. i have the documentation, you cannot disagree by shaking your head. those numbers have been declining over the past couple of years. that is what the voters voted
for. they did not know, they were snookered and they said what is not to like about a high-speed train, why not get one? what is promised and what is going on now has no relationship. >> you represent the city and people are you hearing what he is saying? >> absolutely. before we decide to defer to all theeconomiests, we need to look at how it delivers. we he see them operating in the black, unlike any other transit system in our country, it operates in the black in countries throughout the world. we have done studies all over and we know we can find the resources to build it and operate it in the black because far poorer countries can do so. >> here is the problem. we do not know it. if we could do it it would be great. the fact is, this is a state
project, the state legislature have to sign off, they are the final authorities and they are the final say. they want a business plan, many of the offices have asked for it and the senate leadership has asked for it and that plan is not forthcoming and at a hearing a month ago the they said you are asking for this plan and we are a small agency and nobody on the agency knows anything about this through direct experience it will take time to come up with a plan. you are building the system before you build the plan. that is the problem. >> that is thation that has been playing the high -- that is the situation that has been troubling the this plan. they have a business plan, the business plan was developed by
cambridge systems. a great firm. but now you want a new plan. you have to give the money and authority to do that. so he they can not just go out and -- so they can not just go out and create a new business plan. they have a tiny staff that is trying to get all the engineering studies on schedule for the largest project in history. and they do not have the money to go out and hire a new consulting company. the the legislature wants a new business plan they need to pay them a couple million dollars to do a new business plan. >> this is a state that has economic troubles right now, to redo anything is not going to likely happen. let's look at it from a national perspective. you were telling me before that florida has decided to say thanks but no thanks we are not going to build it. are more places around the
country saying they will not want it? >> this is not a cost item for california in terms of this budget. california has gotten $3.5 billion from the government to build the high-speed rail. it's so we can employee people and build the system. all we have to do is release some of those funds. the legislature has to do it, for the purpose of doing the study. does not cost the budget anything. >> the money problem has been a problem that seems to be haunting you guys and i remember when the first business plan was due before the elections for proposition 1a and it was not forthcoming because you did not have the money. i do not want to drive on these points but i want to respond to you however, because i read the paper this morning we love china and their high-speed rail. >> we do not want to be more
like china. i'm happy to be in the united states. >> they are spending the money to high-speed rail. shear what this article says is, now you know when you disagree with the government in china, you are -- china is growing high-speed rail system is unprofitable and corrupt and unsafe according to recent reports from the chinese press. >> which can be said about any other industry in china because of their involvement from the state from china. we are in the united states and we can build systems without being corrupt. and we can do them efficiently. up know the other challenge we have is as we look at the florida governor turning down billions of dollars to build the system. it's not by accident that we
are a smaller population and produce the greenhouse gases. it's an important part of a system that can help reduce greenhouse gases and build transit oriented development. we have a state that will eliminate redevelopment agencies and we need to find a way to spur development in downtowns or we will continue a pattern of not succeeding. >> certainly running the trains is more efficient and cost effective than running trucks and cars. the problem i have is this is a great idea for the state and it's like christmas, you get your electric train set and your mom and dad say wait, sit down and take some time and
read the instruction book and the authority is designing the tracks everywhere in the state at the same time. finances are not fitting and they are going to build a train to nowhere in the middle of the valley saying do not worry we will connect up the dots later. this is not the way to run a railroad. and that is our problem with it. >> in the time remaining i want to bring up one more point n light of the recent news about what happen inside japan, they have it but they have to repair it and not use it right now. how do we justify building this considering we have earthquake potential problems here in california? >> two things need to be corrected. first of all, the high speed rail project is absolutely well integrated, we have the best ceo that can be hired anywhere in the world. executive search brought him
in, sometimes he does not communicate but is he an out standing manager. he has built them around the world and knows what he is doing and he is integrating these projects. and one more thing. the high-speed rail project in japan did not have a train derailed it operated perfectly. the program, the sensors stop study train. not the high-speed trains. there will stories about these that show how an amazing system, i want survived that earthquake perfectly. >> how do you feel about that? >> i like to come at this from a different position. gary and we agree -- >> we need to stay on point. what do you think about this
idea that people do not have the concern that if we had a major earthquake that this whole system would be void anyway? >> everybody ought to be considering worse case situations. and i do not have confidence and i think it requires far more expensive and farm greater investment. the point i wanted to make with the chinese rail is that they paid a lot of attention to all of these issues and it's turned out that they did a poor job in use of materials and nobody is on it. >> quickly. last thought. very quickly. >> this is our one great hope for bringing a critical infrastructure that are people are passing up on. we need it. >> let's do it right.
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