Improving California’s High Speed Infrastructure: Bullet Trains or Gigabits

July 6, 2012 – 11:32 pm

The state’s leadership today approved the most expensive infrastructure project ever undertaken in California, a high-speed rail project that will connect San Francisco and Sacramento with Los Angeles. The cost: $68,000,000,000.

Generally speaking, rail in the US is useless for public transportation, so I’m sure this will be a wonderful resource for those who find occasion to use it. But, it is expensive, and even proponents of high speed rail have said that the plan has some significant flaws. It certainly benefits the population centers more than the rural areas it doesn’t reach or just passes through. And, it had a budget estimate that rose to near $100B dollars before being penciled back down to it’s current sixty eight billion.

Being in a different sort of high-speed business, I wondered: what would sixty eight billion buy if we decided to invest in glass fiber instead of steel rails? Could you “visit” LA at the speed of light instead, if we had chosen to spend this amount of money differently?

Fiber infrastructure also isn’t cheap: we have found that building Fiber-to-the-premise costs $500-$2500 per premise passed, plus a few hundred in equipment per premise connected. The costs of the equipment and operation are both going down over time.

This cost data suggests that $68B would be enough to build full Gigabit Fiber infrastructure to every single one of California’s more than thirteen million homes and nearly four million business. And, there would probably be enough left over to toss in the first year of Gigabit service, free (calculated at our current rate of $69.95/mo for Gigabit access including two phone lines).

It would be correct to point out that there are a number of very rural homes that are extremely expensive to reach with fiber, so perhaps that last few thousand households might take a few extra billion. But heck, these big infrastructure projects are expected to run a little over budget, right? And, those super-rural locations certainly aren’t going to get much benefit from a train that only traverses half the state.

Now, I guess we just have to hope that they can build this fancy new train on time and on budget.

Please comment below: What would you prefer: a 220Mph train, or 1000Mbps fiber?

  • cyberdoyle

    The same mistakes are being made in the UK too, a high speed train costing billions to save 20minutes on a journey to london from brum. ridiculous. Trains should be for transporting goods. Freight. HS2 or nationwide fibre to the home? There is no contest. Bring on the fibre, moral and optic.

  • DukeOfURL

    I’d rather have the fiber.  I’d use it on a day-to-day basis, but the train to SoCal, I’d only use once or twice a year.

    (the OpenID method to leave comments is broken)

  • Hudas

    fuck you

  • Pat C.

    Living in a country with both (South Korea), I’m happy to say that I don’t have to make that choice. But, if I had to pick just one, it would probably be the gigabit fiber. Especially if Sonic were supplying it!

  • excelblue

    I think it’s important to consider the long term. 20yr from now, I think the high speed train will still be relevant. On the other hand, gigabit fiber will be nearly obsolete as better technologies come out.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/NB5F7GHWTNWIXEJILSR3H6GIQU zibuki

    “Generally speaking, rail in the US is useless for public transportation,
    so I’m sure this will be a wonderful resource for those who find
    occasion to use it.”

    As someone that has extensive experience riding the rails in the United States for over twenty years, I have to say that this is incorrect. Increasingly, people in the US are fed up with the hassle and expense of airlines, and are switching to rail, with ridership setting records in much of the US. Also, polls show that many people would gladly switch to rail if given the choice.

    California has three of the five busiest Amtrak lines in the country, and in 2009 California ridership comprised almost 20% of all Amtrak ridership.

    It is ironic, and sad, that you of all people should imply, via your thought experiment, the false argument that we can’t have both high-speed rail and high-speed internet, and that somehow this money could have been spent on high-speed internet. Especially given that the main problem with Amtrak in the United States is the scheduling delays caused by the fact that Amtrak doesn’t own the very railways it has to use, so it must constantly move to the side and work around freight trains. I think you might find that you have much in common with Amtrak, given your relationship with AT&T.

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Calif-Amtrak-ridership-rising-on-state-trains-2479851.php

    The current plan includes up to 24 stations, with a route that goes through the some of the most rural portions of central California:

    http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/project_vision.aspx

    Voters in California had the vision to approve the plan, and take the steps necessary to lay the groundwork for a better future. I would think that you, above many others, would recognize the wisdom of that decision.

  • http://twitter.com/ryneches Russell Neches

    Frankly, I’ll take the train.

    I certainly *want* gigabit fiber, but we *need* better transportation. The SF/LA axis is the backbone of most travel and freight in California, and this train will be awesome.

    In any event, the biggest thing holding back deployment of things like gigabit fiber is that too few people can really afford it. The rail project will help in the short term by putting folks to work, and in the long term by keeping more of the dollars spent on regional travel within the region. That will ultimately mean more customers for gigabit, which will make it easier for businesses like Sonic to secure funding to build it.

  • http://twitter.com/ryneches Russell Neches

    Good point. Californians have been basically demanding this project, or something like it, for 30 years. This is going forward because people have repeatedly voted for it via referendum. 

  • Jason

    Private companies will roll out gigabit internet across the state sooner or later. Probably faster than you could get state government to sign off on $68B of spending.

    High speed rail, on the other hand, has to be financed by the government because no private company wants to take on that kind of financial outlay for what would probably be break-even at best. But that’s OK. The purpose of public infrastructure isn’t to make a profit; it’s to provide a service (like roads) that bolsters the rest of the economy.

    Regarding gigabit fiber as an infrastructure project — I think the better argument is that we need an open network that isn’t controlled by a one or two telecom/media companies. Living in a world where whoever operates the ISP controls your access to Internet communication and economic activity (e.g. wanting to watch your movies on Netflix instead of Comcast Xfinity) could lead to some pretty awful outcomes.

    A government-sponsored fiber network could help solve this, assuming it weren’t perverted by companies trying to take it private on the taxpayers’ dime. You can expect entrenched players to spend millions to take down any attempt at an open, state-wide community fiber project that doesn’t hand over full control to themselves.

  • Tim

    I’ve gone to LA once in the las 12 years.  I use Sonic.net for Internet access everyday, and 1000Mbps would be a real thrill.

  • Zcab911

    I choose education

  • sonicnet

    I took Amtrak this year, from the Bay Area to Truckee. It was beautiful, but for our family of five it was far more expensive than driving would have been. This, despite taxpayers footing a $90M subsidy this year.
    “Amtrak California, the state partnership with the national passenger rail corporation, carried about 5.1 million of the 27.1 million passengers who took Amtrak trains in 2009. And the number of riders is rising. California spends about $90 million a year on operating subsidies.”
    I am all for rail transport that works, and maybe this new high-speed line will work well finally. But it IS costing taxpayers $5,000 per household, which is a lot.

    -Dane

  • sonicnet

    The wonderful think about fiber is that it won’t become obsolete. As technology improves, the electronics on the end are easily upgraded. As a long term investment, it has a similar or longer lifespan than a rail system.
    -Dane

  • Daniel Augustine

    Conflating high speed internet access with high speed rail is a false choice. There is no reason why we should have to choose between high speed rail and internet.  Both are valuable services, but one cannot replace the other. 

    While telecommuting and video conferencing cuts down on some routine travel today, the internet is no substitute to traveling to real places and meeting real people. A growing California cannot soley rely on expanding freeways and airports, which are neither cheap nor budgeted and are difficult to scale effectively. 
     
    I lived in the Netherlands a few years ago where they have higher average internet speeds than the US. They also have a fantastic train network to get from the center of almost any city to the center of another quickly without the hassles of typical airports. Now the Dutch are upgrading to fiber-to-the-home which is certainly not cheap. But even as they invest in high speed internet, I don’t suspect anyone there today would want to eliminate their high speed trains in order to get a personal fiber connection. (PBS did a report their fiber build-out plans last year at http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/culture/video-high-fiber/)

    Our government has no problem spending lots of money in areas I don’t like, but that doesn’t mean we should not be investing in our infrastructure, including fiber. There’s no reason why we can’t do both, especially when stimulus spending would help us get out of our recession faster. 

  • Daniel Augustine

    Dane,

    Conflating high speed internet access with high speed rail is a false choice. There is no reason why we should have to choose between high speed rail and internet.  Both are valuable services, but one cannot replace the other. 

    While telecommuting and video conferencing cuts down on some routine travel today, the internet is no substitute to traveling to real places and meeting real people. A growing California cannot soley rely on expanding freeways and airports, which are neither cheap nor budgeted and are difficult to scale effectively. 
     
    I lived in the Netherlands a few years ago where they have higher average internet speeds than the US. They also have a fantastic train network to get from the center of almost any city to the center of another quickly without the hassles of typical airports. Now the Dutch are upgrading to fiber-to-the-home which is estimated to cost between 5-7 billion euros to build out. But even as they invest in high speed internet, I don’t suspect anyone there today would want to eliminate their high speed trains in order to get a personal fiber connection. PBS did a report their fiber buildout plans last year http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/culture/video-high-fiber/

    Our government has no problem spending lots of money in areas I don’t like, but that doesn’t mean we should not be investing in our infrastructure, including fiber. There’s no reason why we can’t do both, especially when stimulus spending would help us get out of our recession faster. 

    -Dan Augustine

  • http://stefanco.com Stefan Lasiewski

    It seems that people will complain about the cost of the high-speed rail project but are have no problem with spending tens-of-billions of dollars to build a new freeway. For a fair comparison, was the cost to build I-5 between SF & LA? What is the cost of all vehicle travel on I-5 between SF & LA? How many more freeways will we need to build in the next 50 years?

    Highways costs billions of dollars to build (A typical cost is $4-40 million per mile) and billions more to maintain. California roads have billions of dollars in deferred maintenance. Automobiles require gasoline and oil from other countries, which means that our government spends tens-of-billions on foreign-policy every year to maintain favorable relations. The American demand for oil led to the war in Iraq, which has cost us over a trillion dollars so far. High-speed rail, while it looks expensive initially, is a good value in the long run.

    As California continues to grow, we will need to expand our transportation infrastructure. The existing highway infrastructure isn’t cutting it, and building even more freeways is expensive and only expands the problematic infrastructure.

    Highways are old and expensive. Air travel is expensive and controlled by an oligopoly. California rail is too slow for long trips. High-speed rail is a modern alternative to these other modes of transportation. And similarly, high-speed fiber is a modern alternative to the aging phone network and cable networks.

  • plwww

     “There is no reason why we should have to choose between high speed rail and internet.”

    There’s actually one huge reason why we would have to choose between the two: 68 Billion Dollars. That is not a small sum, and we don’t really have the money to do this one major infrastructure project, much less two. Unfortunately, they chose the wrong infrastructure to build. Rails might work great for the Netherlands, but they will not work for California. The Netherlands has a bit less than half California’s population in less than 1/10th the land area, for about 4 times the population density than us. We would therefore have to spend several times more per person to reach the same percentage of the population with rail compared to a more dense nation like the Netherlands would, and operating costs would likewise be higher causing the value of rail vs other modes of transportation to decrease for the end-user.

  • http://twitter.com/renesugar Rene Sugar

    You could do both.

    California could either use the mini-bonds they authorized or crowdfunding could be used. Take a look at Crowdcube in the UK.

    With crowdfunding, you vote with your money instead of via a representative in government.

    With a population the size of the U.S., it is not difficult to raise large amounts with small investments.

    $114/month x 60 months x 10,000,000 investors = $68,400,000,000

    For $3.80 per day, you get high-speed rail or high-speed Internet or whatever you want to invest in.

  • http://openid.lucasrichter.id.au/ Lucas Wilson-Richter

    Australian politicians are (still) debating this very question in reverse. The Government has launched the National Broadband Network project, and the Opposition is arguing vehemently that the money would be better spent on other public infrastructure (transport, hospitals, schools, etc).

  • http://twitter.com/anonymousbin Anonymous Person

    The problem is that HSR doesn’t support freight and it doesn’t solve local transit issues.
    We will still be widening freeways even with HSR, because it also doesn’t solve local transit, which is the bulk of the traffic problems in California. Sure, we might get an electrified Caltrain, but VTA and Samtrans still won’t have a network of local transit to feed Caltrain effectively.
    Anyone using the freeway argument is either unclear on the concept, or, frankly, being disingenuous.

    What’s ironic is that your comparison about high-speed fiber being an alternative to aging phone networks? Much of the long-distance traffic is done *over the air* through satellites. Not laying more cable.

  • ladyfleur

    “Generally speaking, rail in the US is useless for public transportation,
    so I’m sure this will be a wonderful resource for those who find
    occasion to use it.”

    My, my., how very dismissive!  I am no train buff, but I commute to work every day on Caltrain and love it.  While others are sitting is annoying traffic, I’m checking my email and reading the news on my way into the office.  It’s also much safer than driving the freeways with the road raging idiots out there. 

    Air travel is a hassle and honestly is overkill for flights less than two hours, where you often spend almost that much time dealing with b.s. in airports. I look forward to having the choice of a fast train on dedicated rails vs mind-numbing drives on I-5 surrounded by big rigs and 90 mph traffic or expensive air flights that have a much bigger environmental impact.

    And if you want to compare choices, it should be to compare freeway widening or airport expansions vs HSR, not pulling internet access into the discussion.  High-speed internet access is important, but it won’t get more people transported across California.  And there certainly aren’t going to be fewer people living in California in 25 years.

  • http://twitter.com/Meryl333 Meryl at Beanstalk

    68 billion to encourage public transit instead of cars!.  Bring it on.   Think about saving billions by focusing on prisoner rehab instead of paying exorbitant prices on prisons and keeping people locked in cells,   or think about saving billions by cutting back on war.  But really, Sonic.  Promoting high speed fibre at the cost of investment (not expense) in public transit.  Cute marketing, but not good citizenship. 

  • http://twitter.com/Meryl333 Meryl at Beanstalk

    Again,  “costing” $5k per household isn’t the whole story.   The Golden Gate Bridge…  cost or investment?   Building prisons and housing prisoners instead of education:  Cost or Investment?  (in that case… a cost as we spend yearly and get nothing but more expenses in return) .  Education:  Investment.   

  • http://disqus.com Peter Mullen

    Ha! For once I agree with you Dane.  For California to invest in a statewide fiber buildout would bring benefits to everyone, not just eccentric travelers who want to get between SF and LA faster.  The HSR is a political boondoggle and a complete waste of precious taxpayer dollars.  Good post!

  • j h woodyatt

    Gee whiz, I guess if I have to choose one or the other, I’ll take the train.

    That said: I don’t have to choose.  Build the train and the fiber.  If you need to raise taxes to pay the ridiculously high interest rates on government bonds, well then, I’m sure there are some people who aren’t paying their fair share somewhere.  It shouldn’t be that hard to find them… they’re easy to spot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1547710243 Chance Wen

    Actually, California is among the one of the best suited states for high speed rail. 
    As mentioned above comments, HSR is an investment. Construction of the HSR will takes years to complete with a full system build out by around 2030. California’s population is predicted to reach approximately 50 million by that year with a population density matching many European and Asian countries like France and Japan, both of which have high speed rail. 
    In terms of geography, California fits the high speed rail’s requirements for maximum efficiency. 
    Recent studies have shown that high speed rail is most efficient in distances between 100 and 500 miles. Any distance shorter than this makes car more desirable while any distance further make air travel more viable. 
    San Francisco and Los Angeles literally falls right within that distance of maximum efficiency, making HSR even more desirable. 

    So I would have to disagree, HSR is just right for California.

  • plwww

    Even with 50 million, our density would remain on the low end to support such a project(perhaps similar to France, but still well below Japan); but ultimately we’re paying for this with the population we have now, not the population that may never materialize. Density is of course not everything, though. European and Asian countries also generally have much higher fuel costs, driving additional passengers to rail; unlike California where taking a car will remain competitive for the foreseeable future(especially for families), causing ridership to be low, and costs to therefore remain high. Americans overall just dislike public transportation, we like the flexibility and independence cars provide. As for geography, 100-500 miles is indeed the range where rail becomes potentially worthwhile, but we go elsewhere, not just between SF and LA. Ultimately, we still need vehicles, which is why the U.S. has amongst the highest vehicle ownership rates in the world. We will use them because we have them. Ultimately, the SF-LA layout is not enough to overcome the limitations California has.

  • plwww

     Clearly, all investments have costs, and hopefully benefits. That’s why we have terms such as “cost-benefit analysis”. I think most Californians understand that public transportation is a good thing, but that doesn’t mean *all* public transportation projects pass the cost/benefit muster. By 2030 they’re expecting 23-34 million riders annually. Assume 30mil and that’s an average of around 83,000 per day, benefiting less than one-third of one-percent of today’s population each day(worse considering the population should grow decently by 2030). A fiber project would benefit nearly everyone, everyday. Additionally, a fiber project would encourage more telecommuting and distance-learning(much of which is limited by lack of decent speeds, especially upload speeds). Not only would that serve the goals of public transportation(reducing cars on the road), but would also reduce real-estate requirements; if you work and study from home you don’t need an office or classroom, saving land and construction resources!

  • John

    How about neither and we all have cordial old-timey face-to-face conversations with our neighbors like the good old days?

  • Matte Gray

    As much as i love Sonic, which is greatly, i think this is a false choice.  High speed fiber infrastructure is the wave of the future for communications.  High speed rail is the future of transportation.

  • sonicnet

    It’s really not a choice: we are building high speed rail with public funds, and we do not build fiber networks with public funds. It’s simply an interesting comparison showing what a massive amount of money it is.
    One could also say “for the amount of money we are spending on rail, we could feed every household a pizza, every night for a year.”
    -Dane

  • kanjizai

    It’s like comparing schools and hospitals. Everyone goes to school, but few people go to hospitals, and then only for short stays. So let’s fund the schools instead of the hospitals.
     

  • http://twitter.com/anonymousbin Anonymous Person

    This is simple. Like computer architecture, movement of people is primarily local. That’s why caching works to speed up computers, and that’s why local transit is 1000x more important than a long distance HSR system.

    Our local transit systems in California range from practically non-existent (Sacramento and San Diego) to middling (Bay Area and the Southland). This is much more important to solve than trying to compete with air, which can easily be scaled up without massive infrastructure investment (bigger planes).

    Complete and utter waste of money that will crowd out much needed investment in things like, say, education.

  • http://twitter.com/anonymousbin Anonymous Person

    Yeah, the people who aren’t paying their fair share will be the few that will ride the HSR.

  • http://twitter.com/anonymousbin Anonymous Person

    What is your definition of public transit? Usually people think of local transit when you say that. HSR certainly isn’t that.

  • Jeremy

    Assuming you meant, “generally speaking rails is useful for public transit” (ie not “useless”)?

  • Jeremy

    Factor in the cost of roads which are subsidized way, way, way, way, way more than rail.  Dane, we always get along well, but whenever we chat about transit I feel like you just don’t get it.  Sprawling road systems are just not a sustainable answer in general and in urban areas there are significant benefits to lots of public transit investment and policies to limit private auto use.  I would really encourage you to study some of this outside of the lens of car-centric-everything-everywhere!  http://www.streetsblog.org and http://livablecities.org/ are good starts.  :)

  • Charlesrdavis

    I think you backed into a buzz saw on this one. I am just tickled pink with the 16Mbps I get from Sonic. So if I did have $68 billion lying around, I don’t think I would upgrade. Would I spend it on high speed rail infrastructure. Here, I think its a question of value. Would SF-LA high speed rail infrastructure be worth $10B? Sure. $100B, probably not? Will it really come in at $68B – ha ha. Is there a more cost effective way? Likely. 

  • http://twitter.com/ryneches Russell Neches

    Dane -

    Yes, the situation is not ideal. However, you need to look at how all transportation infrastructure is payed for. NONE of it works without massive subsidies. That’s true for rail, and it’s true for cars.

    Even if you drive a Ferrari, the most expensive part of your car is your share of the pavement it’s sitting on. Which is, of course, entirely paid for by subsidies.

    The problem with rail is that it we not not subsidizing it enough. More investment would mean a more extensive, efficient system, which would mean more riders. That would mean a dollar of public investment would pay for more passenger miles. 

    Rail is expensive in America because we keep buying the fun-size packets from the vending machine; a little project here, an upgrade there, always scaling back the engineering to fit with our ever dwindling ambitions. When you buy things that way, you end up paying a lot and receiving little. That is an problem with the procurement, not the technology. 

    Russell

  • Dave Duchesneau

    Excerpting from Jason’s comment: “Regarding gigabit fiber as an infrastructure project — I think the better argument is that we need an open network that isn’t controlled by a one or two telecom/media companies. Living in a world where whoever operates the ISP controls your access to Internet communication and economic activity could lead to some pretty awful outcomes…”

    One of the obvious problems faced by Sonic.net in its attempt to offer better services and pricing is trying to catch up with the already-deployed pipes of its competitors.  One of the potential consequences is islands of slower legacy connectivity (such as apartment buildings) surrounded by Sonic.net-style speed that may never connect to them (see “Sonic.net builds super-fast network for future,” http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120506/BUSINESS/120509761/1036/business?template=printpicart).

    However, there is new technology that can help, such as Ubiquity’s new airFiber (http://www.ubnt.com/airfiber) that can be used to cheaply (about $3K) connect Sonic.net-style fiber connections to an such “island” from a distance of up to several miles, using unlicensed bandwidth.  The bang for the buck is unprecedented, with speed in excess of a 1 Gbps.

    Dave Duchesneau

  • http://justeps.livejournal.com/ Eric P. Scott

    Since the comments so far have been heavy on emotion and light on facts, let’s start with a little reality check:

    http://www.broadbandmap.ca.gov/

    Here’s the Federal response:

    http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/RUSTelecomPrograms.html

    Back in the days when I was a poor college student, I learned that access to transportation means you’re never going to starve, but food will get you nowhere. The latter may provide short-term gratification, but the former serves long-term needs.

    On the rare occasions I want to do something that requires gigabit fiber, it’s available to me in a commercial setting that’s a reasonable commute away from where I live. I have no viable alternative to air travel, and I’ve experienced firsthand what can go wrong when all three Bay Area airports are shut simultaneously. That represents a single point of failure we have the ability to remedy. Ubiquitous gigabit fiber is a luxury, not a necessity. There’s no doubt in my mind that high speed rail is by far the wiser investment.

    I’m siding with the train. (Pun intended.)

  • Trucklaneblues

    Does it stop anywhere else? How many cars will it take off the highway? Will it impact the airlines? Do we have to take our shoes off and watch grandma get patted down to avoid racial profiling people that look like terrorists. Will people use it enough to justify it? I guess I have more questions than opinions until I learn more. Or I could just complain anyway.

  • Jason DiCioccio

    I’d much rather they spend the money on regional/commuter rail/transit.  Improve/speed up BART & Caltrain and expand coverage, for example.  Expand their reach.  How about the north bay?  There’s a lot of work that can be done in CA on regional transit, the ROI of which is much clearer.

  • sonicnet

    Yes, how about connecting SMART to BART, that would be excellent!


    Dane Jasper

  • PARALLAX

    I firmly believe the ROI on high speed fiber would be 10,000 times that of HSR — 19th technology on steroids at best.

  • Fiber Guy

    Can Sonic adopt similar plan like Google Fiber for Kansas City? $300 installing fees if 50 homes sign up for that neigberhood and get free fiber for at least 7 years or $70 a month. I live in Sunset and already has Fusion service but cannot wait for fiber. When is your schedule for 41st ave near Noriega St? Thanks.

  • Cynic13

    This is nonsense. Trains take you from where you aren’t to where you don’t want to go, at times when you don’t want to travel. Any failure shuts down the whole system. And the tax dollars are diverted from higher economic uses (I’d rather spend my money elsewhere!) to this boondoggle.

  • Cynic13

    Nonsense. Roads are funded from gasoline taxes (at least what’s left after the tax revenues are diverted elsewhere). Trains don’t serve enough people to make even a small dent in our transportation needs – and they’re stupendously expensive and unreliable.

  • Pepijn

    Thanks for sharing your (what i’m sure must be) extensive sources to back up your comment.

  • Bob

    What are you talking about California collects 66 cents a gallon on every gallon of gasoline sold. The stat steals over half for administration an rail subsidies. We payed for the roads more than twice that ain’t no subsidy!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kansas-Bright/100000673209851 Kansas Bright

    1000Mbps fiber is much better.

    Why?

    Because what they are not telling everyone about the train is that it is tied into (UN) Agenda 21 – which stop stops us from owning property, having property we already own taken away from us to be used for the community good, that people are to be moved to “human” areas so that the UN can harvest America’s natural resources easier, nor be allowed to own businesses, etc. Yeah, it is real, that is why states are banning it.

    Alabama is the first state banning Agenda 21 with Alabama Senate Bill (SB) 477 legislation, known as the “Due Process for Property Rights” Act. Tennessee also adopted a bipartisan state resolution slamming the UN scheme as an “insidious” and “socialist” plot that is completely at odds with American traditions of limited government, individual freedom, private property, and self-governance under the Constitution.

    Numerous other states are pursuing similar measures. The New Hampshire House of Representatives also voted to ban UN Agenda 21 polices. Kansas has a resolution that was approved that quashed Agenda 21 from taking over the state.

    Local governments across America who have been, and currently are under
    intense pressure from citizens and activist groups, are awakening to the “dangers” of tAgenda 21. Dozens of cities and counties have withdrawn from German based ICLEI in recent years.

    Some of the other private organizations helping ICLEI with the destruction of American rights are the: National League of Cities, National Governors Association, American Planning Group, International City/County Management Group, and others.

    Obama and Romney both support Agenda 21.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kansas-Bright/100000673209851 Kansas Bright

    TSA is in train stations, bus stations, and on our roadways, not just in airports. You will run into the same ” b.s.” as you run into at the airports.

  • ladyfleur

    TSA is patrolling and sometimes spot-checking train and bus passengers, which is a far cry from having every single passenger show photo id, remove their shoes, unload their laptops, and having their baggage and bodies x-rayed. That’s a real hassle every single time you fly.

  • Signifigant

    I find it Stunning that some the author of the document and some others would even compare the two. And then make the statement that Rail is useless as a means of transpo, and using the current rail system as their example. HELLO, ding ding ding, this is Hi Speed rail, a less well endowed rail system than the Japanese version, but still 10 times faster that what we have now, example people in Yokuska travel to Tokyo in under an hour, normally the drive would be like 4 hours, it enables people in Rural communities to take a short trip via car, bus, taxi, bike, what ever the case to the nearest station, and then BAM, zoom to their place of work…The idea of hitting LA in 2-3 hours is scrumptious to people in the Bay Area and vice versa, I would do it a lot if it were here now. And also i am presently waiting for Bart to Finnish its expansion to Antioch, and when it does, I will get a job in the city, and my driving will be infintesmal, people do not like driving, but when pressed for time, and limited public transpo options, they choose to drive, BRING ON HI SPEED RAIL!

  • Signifigant

    One other point, YES, I want FIBER, badly…And I do want the state or Federal govt to kick in for it, but I also want them to raise taxes to do it, I am tired of this rob Peter to pay Paul nonsense that goes on in this state and in our govt in general. I would happily pay higher taxes if I knew what it was for, lets get it done, and why hasnt some company like Sonic authored a bill for this yet?

  • Niall WBC

    Aha! I called Sonic.net to beg them to extend their fusion service San Diego. “Not possible yet,” they said. “No way to get service tech’s down there quickly. Post to the CEO’s blog.” they said. And – oh the irony – Mr./Ms. CEO is here, writin’ about how the whole high speed transport thingy is not needed. All very well for you Sonic-pampered Bay Area folks. Can you spare a thought – or a trillion dollar train – for us Fusion-less folks in SoCal? The train may not bring us happiness, but at least as we speed up to SF on our high speed train we can tell ourselves, “this is NEARLY as cool as having Fusion techs come down to SoCal…..”

  • Ulmo

    I’d clearly prefer the fiber, but in fact I think the whole idea of this train is a waste of money, so why would I think spending tax $ to fiber would be ok? The market can help out with charging people what it costs. But, if we are forced to choose one, the train is definitely less useful than the fiber connections.

    Cars will drive themselves within a few years. We’d just lie down in our car bed, program it to go to where ever we want to be when we wake up, and presto, when we’re awake, we’re there. We definitely don’t need some train where we can’t even bring our belongings with us, and as soon as we get to our destination, we’re stranded without a vehicle.

  • fredfnord

    I can’t tell whether you know you’re lying, and are cynically manipulating people through the use of misinformation, or whether you’re simply utterly misinformed, but for those people who might otherwise be fooled by Mr. Cynic: the gasoline taxes have not paid for road funding for over fifty years, and they currently don’t even approach 1/3 of the cost of roads and infrastructure, if you take into account everything required to operate motor vehicles. (If you are ONLY talking about roads, then they are still less than half of the required funding.)

  • fredfnord

    > (I’d rather spend my money elsewhere!)

    Vote with your feet! I’m sure there are plenty of places which would be happy to have a person such as yourself. You pretty clearly don’t fit very well in California.

  • fredfnord

    > Americans overall just dislike public transportation.

    Don’t assume everyone is like you. In fact, there is a huge shift towards public transportation happening even as we speak, with more young people concentrating in urban centers, and more and more people able to contemplate life without a car. If you look at the numbers, they are quite surprising.

    I understand the earnest desire of the most car-addicted among us to NEVER WANT TO PAY FOR ANYTHING THAT DOESN’T DIRECTLY BENEFIT THEM RIGHT THIS SECOND, but really, you’re being awfully short-sighted. With population growth, highways in California are going to become increasingly insane, and it’s well-established that no amount of widening roads will fix this problem. You ought to be cheering on every public transportation project that comes up: even a 10% reduction in traffic will have huge consequences.

    I guess I shouldn’t expect foresight like that, though.

  • fredfnord

    Ye gods, that’s some optimism there!

    Do you know when DSL was rolled out? The original patents are from 1982 to 1984, and the rollout was in progress by 1990. It’s now 2012. That’s 22 years. There are still millions of people who can’t get anything else, or for whom cable modem (generally the only other widely available technology) is just as bad or worse.

    If 2/3 of the country even HAS gigabit fiber in fifteen years I will be shocked.