High-Speed Rail: Another Reason You Should Support Streetsblog’s Independent Journalism

Streetsblogs S.F. editor Roger Rudick and L.A. editor Joe Linton at the San Joaquin River Viaduct.
Streetsblogs S.F. editor Roger Rudick and L.A. editor Joe Linton at the San Joaquin River Viaduct.

High Speed Rail.

It’s a big topic at Streetsblog. Of our twenty most-read stories across the state this last year, ten of them were about the state’s efforts to build a bullet train from L.A. to the Bay Area

And there’s a reason these stories are so popular. For whatever reason, the Los Angeles Times has decided that high-speed rail is a bad project, and legislators seem keen to defund it and use the money for projects in their districts. 

But while the Times pats itself on the back for ostensibly being a government watchdog, they tell only half the story. For example, thousands of well-paying union construction jobs are on the line in the Central Valley as the nation’s largest infrastructure project steams forward. So is a once-in-a-generation chance to change how people move about in California and reduce emissions from short-haul flights and cars.

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Our coverage of high speed rail shows Streetsblog’s importance in two ways.

First, as noted above, the Times’s coverage of the California High-Speed Rail Program is full of half-truths and spin designed to twist every announcement into a scandal. It makes any casual reader believe the project is dead. Much of the rest of the California media just apes the Times’s coverage or prints nonsense from petroleum-funded think tanks.

This leaves it to Streetsblog to correct a mountain of misinformation. Roger Rudick provides a view from the Bay Area and important context about the project. Joe Linton writes about the politics in Southern California and how it impacts what the legislature is doing. Melanie Curry closely follows the legislature and executive offices and the political costs of their feuding.  Heck, I even wrote three stories about high-speed rail in 2021, focusing mostly on the role misinformation has in undermining the project.

Second, it is another demonstration of the Streetsblog mission: to inform readers on why things are happening the way they are. We take that charge seriously, even when it means upsetting a politician who is an important ally on our other key issues such as safe walking and biking.

If you value Streetsblog’s coverage, please consider making a donation to support loud and proud independent coverage of High Speed Rail and many other issues.

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As always, I’m happy to answer any questions, provide information on how to setup employer matches or anything else at damien@streetsblog.org.

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The Reason Foundation is one of the most persistent rail opponents in the United States. With remarkable consistency, Reason condemns high-speed rail, private intercity rail projects, and local transit expansions. No matter how shaky its numbers may be, you can count on Reason to undermine any transit project that runs on rails. Shane Phillips at Better Institutions was […]