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Happy Travels on this Independence Day Weekend!

"On this Fourth of July, let us declare our independence from freeway gridlock, snarled airports, and choking pollution with an American high-speed rail success story"

3:59 PM PDT on June 30, 2023

Caltrain’s new trains under electrification, the first tangible element of the state’s HSR project in the Bay Area. Photo: CV Makhijani

Streetsblog wants to wish all its readers a safe and happy 4th of July celebration.

If you're reading this while waiting in insufferable lines at the airport or a passenger on a bus or in a car in bumper-to-bumper traffic, be comforted that there's hope for a better future thanks to the state's high-speed rail project.

Fortune ran a great op-ed by San Francisco's own Representative Nancy Pelosi about how we need to stop jerking around and fully fund and finish the damn thing. From "Americans deserve safe, efficient, and clean transportation:"

This Independence Day, we are reminded that we face another opportunity to preserve America’s preeminence into the 21st Century: building a nationwide, electrified network of high-speed rail.

In my home state of California, we take great pride in our ambitious status as the leading edge of high-speed rail here at home. Electrified high-speed trains will be operational in the Central Valley between 2030 and 2033, connecting cities from the southern palms to the northern pines, with the goal to be the world’s first solar-powered high-speed rail system.

Of course, since it isn't running now (and in 2033 it won't run from San Francisco all the way to Los Angeles, under the current funding picture), we're stuck with what we have: thousands of people stranded at SFO thanks to our floundering air-travel system. And, as the Chronicle reports, another episode of Carmageddon is expected on Bay Area roads.

The HSR Cedar Viaduct in South Fresno. Photo: CAHSRA

Pelosi reminds readers that when the Japanese, Chinese, or Europeans start a holiday weekend, they get on trains and get where they're going fast and far more reliably, without polluting the air. The same is true, to a large extent, for our fellow Americans traveling in the Northeast Corridor.

Amtrak's newest Acela trainset for service between Boston, New York, and Washington D.C., the closest thing to high-speed rail you'll find anywhere in America. Photo: Simon Brugel/Wikimedia Commons

Don't residents of California and other states deserve the same?

As Pelosi puts it: "On this Fourth of July, let us declare our independence from freeway gridlock, snarled airports, and choking pollution with an American high-speed rail success story."

In other words, let's fund rail like we fund airports and highways and just get it done already.

Streetsblog San Francisco will be off on July 3 and 4, returning to our normal publishing schedule on July 5.

Have a great and safe holiday weekend and we'll see you all back on Wednesday.

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