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Prop. 1 reduces traffic, greenhouse gas

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Prop. 1 reduces traffic, greenhouse gas
Posted Oct. 31, 2008

I am full of passion, most of which is directed toward transportation and its many subcategories. I am passionate about cars, mechanics and driving in general. After I moved to Los Angeles almost three years ago, I became passionate – in a hateful way – toward traffic. After seeking the Metro and Metrolink, my rage diffused into a healthier passion for the appraisal of alternate transportation and the advancements that can be made within the industry.

Despite my self-serving reason for getting involved and maintaining interest in alternate transportation, the underlying point is that I am helping. But now that I am more inclined to leave the car at home, I continually seek additional reasons that might be more convincing than being sick of traffic and the self-involved drivers who occupy the highways.

California holds the perfect recipe for commuter hell: a growing population, westward migration, limited land availability for additional highways or runways and, to top it all off, some of the nation’s highest fuel prices.

Since we cannot logically or even financially build more roads and airports or negotiate sane gas prices, I think that we should do whatever it takes to propel the logical future for transportation: rail.

Proposition 1A addresses such concerns through its proposed construction of high-speed rail. The proposed route connects Los Angeles with the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, and could eventually include trains from Oakland to San Jose, Sacramento to Merced, Los Angeles to Irvine, Los Angeles to the Inland Empire and the Inland Empire to San Diego.

A “yes” vote for Proposition 1A will allow the sale of $9.95 billion in general obligation bonds to construct the high-speed trains and to improve existing trains.

While this sounds like an exuberant amount of money, there are also other factors that can change the costs, including interest rates and the time period over which bonds are repaid. The state would repay the principal and interest over a time span of about 30 years.

Other California propositions draw large sums of money as well, including Prop. 3 ($980 million in bonds), Prop. 5 ($460 million), Prop. 6 ($965 million from the state general fund) and Prop. 10 ($5 billion in bonds).

Many of the propositions have financial repercussions, and, if voters truly believe in an issue, I think they should do what they can to see it through.

Another reason to support Proposition 1A is because of its ability to reduce greenhouse gasses. Hide all you want, but the “inconvenient” truth is that the environment is in trouble and we need to start significantly addressing the inevitable demise of our resources.

Back to my selfish reasons for feeling passionate about public transportation: hatred for traffic and grievances about being broke. This train can safely run at up to 220 miles per hour on a track that is safely segregated from possible track interference such as cars that want to race the flashing railroad crossings.

Passengers could leave LA and arrive in San Francisco two and a half hours later for lunch in Chinatown.

It would also smoothly propel passengers between cities for a projected $50 or so – cheaper than Amtrak and certainly less than the cost of gas for such a trip.

I think that this proposition, if passed, would spark a large amount of interest since many already recognize the need for well, everything this train would offer: efficient transportation, employment, economic development and a cleaner environment.

Lesley Michaels, a senior communications major, is news editor and Web editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at lesley.michaels@laverne.edu.