Professional athletes are understandably harangued by their coaches for leaving their playbooks on the subway, in their hotel rooms or anywhere the opponents might get their hands on them. Having the opposition’s game plan would allow for a decided advantage on game day.
When it comes to high-speed rail there is a playbook of sorts to counter attacks from the opposition. In this case, instead of Xs and Os scrawled on a white board, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has drafted a document entitled “An Inventory of the Criticisms of High-Speed Rail: With Suggested Responses and Counterpoints.”
Last week President Barack Obama took the offensive on behalf of high-speed rail by stating his continued support for California’s $98.5-billion bullet train in his upcoming budget proposal. In addition, he sent U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on a tour of California to promote the 800-mile network that will have trains traveling at a proposed 200 m.p.h.
Opponents of high-speed rail now have the opportunity to battle back with access to the government’s game planAccording to the APTA documents the criticisms have been categorized into basically eight groupings:
– Charges of elitism, social engineering, and untruthful attacks;
– The unaffordability of high-speed rail;
– The lack of political and popular support for high-speed rail;
– The notion that rail corridors were being proposed and built to “nowhere;”
– Whether and why intercity and high-speed rail should receive a taxpayer subsidy;
– That intercity and high-speed passenger rail is old technology that is not transformational;
– That even though high-speed rail has enjoyed success in Europe and Japan, it’s a transportation technology that won’t work in the U.S.; and,
– That proponents of passenger and high-speed rail have overstated the benefits.
– In the 80 page document the APTA counters the above arguments against to high-speed rail.
These talking points could come in handy for opponent and Beverly Hills resident Peter Seidel who must collect the signatures of 807,615 registered voters to have his so-called ‘No Train Please Act’ placed on the November ballot. Siedel has 150 days to circulate petitions for this measure, meaning the signatures must be collected by June 21, 2012.
Seidel’s measure would give California voters a chance to take a second look at the support they showed in 2008. The initiative would both block state funding for the train and demolish the California High Speed Rail Authority.
Seidel can be reached at P.O. Box 5738, Beverly Hills, California 90209.
The American Public Transportation Association is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,500 public and private member organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation.