The High Speed Rail benefits California

Author: sarahwornow7 | Last modified: Jan. 22, 2018, 7:30 a.m.


PRO (3 arguments)

Definitions:

California High Speed Rail: High-speed rail system that will have stops in major cities.

1. Claim: The high speed rail will overall be better for the environment.
Warrant:

Instead of many multitudes of cars, with only about one to two commuters in each, clogging up the streets and the freeways, as well as polluting the air, the high speed rail in California which is extremely efficient will eliminate the majority of those cars, thus eliminating unnecessary pollution and ruin of our environment. Not only is the high speed rail faster, but it will run on its own renewable energy sources and help our suffering environment even more. The California High Speed Rail Authority’s current plan seeks to make the rail completely sustainable. It will provide its own renewable able power, and won’t damage the environment, via state-of-the-art engineering practices. Also, As a result of the California High Speed Rail, 320 billion fewer vehicle miles will be traveled over 40 years. 146 million hours in traffic will be saved annually. Carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 3 million tons annually. 237 million gallons of auto fuel will be saved annually, and 35 million gallons of aviation fuel will be saved annually. High-speed trains need only one-third of the energy than that of an airplane and one-fifth of an automobile trip. The system is projected to save 12.7 million barrels of oil per year by 2030, even with future improvements in auto fuel efficiency. Electrically-powered high-speed trains reduce pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions and reliance on fossil fuels. The total predicted emissions savings of the California high-speed train system is up to 12 billion pounds of CO2 per year by 2030 and would grow with higher ridership. Furthermore, a study undertaken for the High-Speed Rail Authority entitled “The Use of Renewable Energy Sources to Provide Power to California’s High Speed Rail" presents the data and reasons supporting the technical and commercial feasibility for the system to use 100% renewable energy with no carbon dioxide emissions whatsoever.

Impact:

Massive droughts. Devastating Floods. Horrific wildfires. Judge, California has seen the dramatic weather-related effects of climate change and everybody has in some way been negatively impacted.There needs to be a change, and while cars are the leading polluter, this high speed rail is one of our only and best solutions, to speed up the process of eliminating climate change and taking steps towards solving the problem completely. With the high speed rail, we can live on this earth for another millennia, not another thousand years.

2. Claim: Building a high speed rail road in California will be beneficial to our economy.
Warrant:

Not only does building a high speed railroad create thousands of green jobs, it also reduces money (spent by the government) on oil. Also, by instituting the high speed railroad, it lowers our dependence on expensive military operations securing oil to the United States, simultaneously ending wars and fights for oil amongst other countries. According to the American Public Transportation Association, every dollar renown invested in the road amounts to 4 dollars in economic benefits. In other words, by building a railroad that helps thousands of people daily, you are increasing the economic benefits by four times. Traffic and congestion on our roads cost $140 billion in lost time and productivity. It is projected that the American population will increase by another 100 million people within the span of forty years. With that huge increase, traffic will increase drastically, costing us fortunes. As mentioned before, implanting the high speed railroad keeps billions of dollars in the American economy by decreasing the amount of oil needed, also improving the environment. Nearly 1.3 million people die yearly due to car accidents, and by building upon the railroad the deaths will be decreased along with the financial burden of having to pay for hospitalization and all car accidents. Investing in HSR infrastructure is associated with lower total travel time, higher comfort and reliability, reduction in the probability of an accident, and in some cases the release of extra capacity which helps to alleviate congestion in other modes of transport.

Impact:

By instituting this railroad, we are benefitting the economy tremendously. With the national unemployment rate being at 4.9% (7.8 million people) and more specifically the unemployment rate in California being at 6.3%, it is important to open more jobs for people, thus growing and expanding our economy. We can make billions of dollars off this very useful investment and the impact it has on society is very qsimple: a higher quality of life for more people whether it be the money directly pocketed into those working at the railroads or money given to the government to fund other programs. While the con side of this debate may be arguing that the train is unattractive, we are arguing that by installing this train, we are helping more people put food on their table at night. We are opening more businesses, attracting more tourists, eliminating traffic that comes with billions of dollars, saving billions of dollars used on oil and greenhouse gasses that are literally killing our Earth, and advancing our nation technologically.

Sources:

American Public Transportation Association, NY Times, University of Las Palmas in Spain

3. Claim: Building and sustaining the California High Speed Rail will create many jobs for the unemployed, which will not only boost the economy but will lower the unemployment rate by 2 percent.
Warrant:

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the California unemployment rate is at 6.3 percent. Building and sustaining the Speed Rail results in as many as 600,000 construction jobs being created for as many as 6 years until the construction is done. After that, each station would need workers to help maintain the place. It would need janitors, builders, engineers, designers, train workers, ticket counters, and people to work at shops that are in the station. This is just a small list of the jobs that could be created from the California High Speed Rail and could result in as many as 450,000 permanent jobs. It will need a huge task force therefore creating jobs and helping the economy.  Job-creating advocates in Fresno said they moved a step closer to ensuring that local workers who need a job can compete for one building California's high-speed rail system. Representatives from Fresno Works, a coalition of local government and business leaders, pitched a proposal to establish a "national targeted hiring initiative." The program would put a premium on contractors to hire workers who live in communities with high rates of long-term unemployment or other economic hardship, or workers who are considered economically disadvantaged -- homeless, single parents who have custody of their children, chronically unemployed or other qualifying factors. The job creation benefits are documented in, among many sources, a 2007 Federal Highway Administration study that identified that for every $1 billion invested in infrastructure development, 20,000 long- and short-term jobs are created. Building the Phase 1 blended system—the Bay Area to Southern California—is estimated to create 990,000 job-years over 15 years, an average of 66,000 annually. In tough financial times, a project of this magnitude will have a significant impact, even in the short term. Construction start-up of ARRA-funding-related sections by 2012 is expected to generate 130,000 early jobs and kick-start economic activity in design, construction and supply services. Over the longer term, California’s high speed train will mean nearly 600,000 construction-related jobs and 450,000 permanent jobs.

Impact:

Judge, This high speed rail will generate over a 600,000 construction jobs as well as 450,000 permanent high paying jobs to people in need. People who can’t get any other jobs, who have been unemployed, who can’t pay for their son or daughter to even eat, much less have anything. This is beneficial to the environment as it saves energy.  Not only that, but it also boost the economy as building more jobs generates more revenue for the government. Judge, even though this rail might cost a lot of money, it is giving over a million jobs to people in california, substantially lowering the unemployment rate, and as this rail runs through most major cities, people all over California can get a job that they need. Judge, this would provide over a million jobs to people all over california. That’s about 3 percent of the state that suddenly has a job, lowering the unemployment rate to 3 percent. Judge not only does this help us, but it also saves the environment. There are no downsides.

Sources:

Huffington post, 2007 Federal Highway Administration



CON (4 arguments)

1. Claim: The HSR costs too much money at a time when California is already in debt, and will go over budget.
Warrant:

A project such as the high speed rail will cost a lot of money, and this money could go to better uses.

In 2008, “The California High Speed Rail Proposal: A Due Diligence Report” projected that the final cost for the complete system would be $98 billion. Later, in 2011, they eliminated certain tracks to bring the cost down to 68 billion dollars, because of public and political complaints due to the high cost. However, a research study done by Bent Flyvbjerg, a University of Oxford business professor, showed that the average high speed rail project has seen a 45 percent cost growth. Judge, that would add 30 billion dollars to the total cost, bringing it back up to 98

million dollars, and they would need to change the project even more to lower the costs. When the bill to create the HSR was passed, early estimates had the cost at 33 billion dollars, a third of what it probably will be. Already, this project has seen major cost increases, and there are probably more to come. California’s total debt, according to US Debt Clock, is 453 billion dollars, so clearly we do NOT need to add anymore to the burden we already have.

Impact:

The HSR is extremely costly, and spending billions of dollars on it is not a good idea for California. Nothing the HSR does will be worth the 68 billion dollars that it will cost to build, not including extra costs that will accumulate during construction.

Sources:

“The California High Speed Rail Proposal: A Due Diligence Report" and the LA Times

2. Claim: Fewer riders will ride the HSR than projected.
Warrant:

It appears that the CHSRA 2030 ridership projections are absurdly high—so much so that they could well rank among the most unrealistic projections produced for a major transport project anywhere in the world. Under a passenger-mile per route-mile standard, the CHSRA is projecting higher passenger use of the California system than is found on the Japanese and French HSR networks despite the fact that these countries have conditions that are far more favorable to the use of HSR. The CHSRA has been increasing forecasted ridership over time and has issued a Base Projection of 65.5 million intercity riders and a High Projection of 96.5 million intercity riders for 2030. The CHSRA ridership projections are considerably higher than independent figures developed for comparable California systems in Federal Railroad Administration and University of California Transportation Center at Berkeley studies. Using generous assumptions a new study by researchers at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, projects a 2030 base of 23.4 million intercity riders, 64% below the CHSRA’s base of 65.5 million intercity riders, and a 2030 high of 31.1 million intercity riders, nearly 60% below the HSRA’s high of 96.5 million. It is likely that the HSR will fall far short of its revenue projections, leading to a need for substantial additional infusions of taxpayer subsidies.

Sources:

Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley

3. Claim: There have been many projects similar to the California HSR that have been projected to be great, but not been successful.
Warrant:

With projects as big as the high speed rail, it is hard to know how they will turn out ahead of time. Many projects have been projected to be great, but run into unexpected, costly, problems. Also, some projects don’t end up with the support and riders they would need to be successful.  According to the KCW, a Berlin transportation consulting firm, the HSR project in Germany is “not in keeping with transportation needs”. If a country has invested billions of dollars into a high speed rail, it should be able to keep up with transportation needs. California’s high speed rail is supposed to cost 68 billion dollars, 57 billion more than the German high speed rail. If the german high speed rail did not produce good results, why should we invest so much money into making something that may not make California’s money back. We are investing a lot of money into this high speed rail, so a lot of money could be lost on this project. Bart's new train cost them 484 million dollars. This train was fully automated and went from the Oakland Coliseum to the Oakland Airport. This trained was hyped up to be one of the best trains in California, but it produced underwhelming results causing Bart, a government program, to lose a lot of money. Judge, this train was much cheaper than the High Speed Rail, so why should California invest their money into a new train when recently millions of dollars were wasted on a train in California, and the new train could lose billions more.

Impact:

There have been many instances of trains and HSRs that have failed economically. That is why California should not spend billions on building something that has a very high failure rate.

Sources:

LA Times, speigel.de

4. Claim: The high speed rail will not only cost billions of dollars it will also take a considerable amount of time and carbon emissions to build.
Warrant:

The high speed rail won’t be completed until 2026 at the earliest, and we shouldn’t wait that long to start developing transit-oriented developments. We’ll see no return on the money spent to get it working until it opens, and although it’s cheap to build things now because of the recession, the cost of materials and labor will increase dramatically by then, which should make it increasingly more difficult to predict just how far you can make $90 billion go. Not only that, but it will take Carbon emissions to build for transporting materials and more. We can’t wait for 2026 to save the environment, but we can make things that will help us in the short run, like spending the 90 billion dollars on research for renewable energy.

Impact:

Clearly if it will take over nine years to build this doesn't really help us in the short term, in fact it actually hurts us. As, instead of wasting this $90 billion we could easily be using this money on much more important things such as healthcare, housing and jobs.