Disparaging California’s high-speed rail project as an overpriced boondoggle is a kind of received wisdom by now.
Self-styled protectors of taxpayers carp. Powerful congressional Republicans go out of their way to undermine the $64 billion project. It’s the “crazy train,” or the “train to nowhere.” Tesla founder Elon Musk says a hyperloop would be a smarter alternative. Advocates of driverless cars say they will be the answer.
But rail is not crazy in Europe or in Asia. And Fresno, Madera, Merced and Stanislaus counties, home to nearly 2 million Californians, are not nowhere. They are, however, too often forgotten.
The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board, which opposed the 2008 ballot measure that authorized high-speed rail, long since has come to see the life-changing potential of a transportation system that connects the San Joaquin Valley to Silicon Valley. It’s not too complicated to see the short and long-term reasons why.