Home » The Water Cooler – Does California Really Need A High Speed Rail?

The Water Cooler – Does California Really Need A High Speed Rail?

Published: Last Updated on 54 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on Claycord.com where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.


QUESTION: Do you think California really needs a high-speed rail that connects San Francisco to Los Angeles?

Talk about it….


miguel April 7, 2022 - 12:03 PM

No. It wasn’t necessary at the time, and the amount of money that has already been blown on the project (especially considering how little work has been done) would have been better spent elsewhere.

Officer Barbrady April 7, 2022 - 12:03 PM
Phik April 7, 2022 - 12:06 PM

I’ve ridden the systems in Europe and they are terrific. Americans are generally not classy enough to deserve such a quality system, and we’re gonna pay a bunch of grifters and grafters for something that won’t be worth a damn.

The Fearless Spectator April 7, 2022 - 12:27 PM

Their goal is to provide transportation for grifters and grafters.

Cyn April 7, 2022 - 12:30 PM

Paying for something that won’t be worth a damn doesn’t sound like the quality system to which you refer. Either way, quality system or not, this classy American WILL NOT be riding.

JJ April 7, 2022 - 12:34 PM

I’ve often thought while riding trains throughout Europe that there is no way Americans would ever keep them as clean or cost effective

Captain Bebops April 7, 2022 - 1:45 PM

Many of the high speed rail systems in other parts of the world were built in the 1970s and 80s, when doing so was affordable. Not so practical now. Same is true with high speed rail in other US states. California lagged on this. But then at the time some of you may remember how cheap it was to fly from San Francisco or Oakland to Los Angeles as well as how frequent the flights were.

Fed Up April 7, 2022 - 3:26 PM

The average journey time by train to travel the 424 miles between Paris and Munich (Approximately the same as SF-LA) is 7 hours and 51 minutes for about $60. Or you can fly for 1hr and 45 minutes for $95 in May 2022. Which would you do? What are those 6 hours worth? Distances are to great in the US for trains. For what they have wasted so far the state could have bought a fleet of planes and offered $60 flights forever.

Glen223 April 8, 2022 - 11:28 AM

Kinda like these transit hubs around BART. Much less need, given that people can work remotely.

Anonymous April 7, 2022 - 12:14 PM

Absolutely not. California high-speed rail is nothing but another opportunity to steal money from taxpayers. Follow the money.

It will never be completed and it will never fulfill its stated goals.

Antler April 7, 2022 - 12:17 PM


WC April 7, 2022 - 12:31 PM

This is one big boondoggle and one big money laundering scheme. It should be shut down. Use the money to widen I-5.

JJ April 7, 2022 - 12:37 PM

I was thinking about this last night. Soon CA will ban fuel powered vehicles and soon we will see that it’ll only be the wealthy who have the luxury of owning a vehicle and are self sufficient. The commie government wants us to be completely dependant on them and this is just one of the avenues in which they control how we move freely about the state.

Concerned Citizen April 7, 2022 - 12:42 PM

Anyone driven Hwy 5 lately??? It’s scary. With the amount of people (and 18 wheelers) traveling back and forth, they need to widen Hwy 5! It should be four lanes each way, the entire way. Hwy 5 SUCKS!!!!!

To Do List April 7, 2022 - 1:30 PM

I’m on the 101 south of Salinas right now and I see broccoli. Nothing scary here.

Hanne Jeppesen April 7, 2022 - 1:50 PM

I have driven on 5 many times, since my daughter and her family lives by Pasadena. One time I took 101, because I was making an overnight stop in Santa Barbara. I don’t think 5 is that bad, I only have 2 bad trips, one was in January a few years ago, the Grapevine was closed due to a snowstorm, so I ended up spending the night at a motel, rather than bothering with the long detour in the dark. This year I drove down on the 23rd of December, I got a late start, and there were a lot of traffic, when I got to the Grapevine it was dark and raining, usually there is no traffic until you get closer to LA. So for the most part I think 5 is fine, it seems holidays and weather is when it gets a little dicey, especially the Grapevine.

Ricardoh April 8, 2022 - 12:45 PM

Hiway 5 sucks. Two lanes in each direction. A truck doing 56 mph’s will pass a truck doing 55.5 mph’s and slow traffic down to nothing. Worse is when they pass a truck convoy and it takes them ten minutes to do it. The road would be good without trucks on it. All they need is a minimum is one more lane in each direction. Four lanes would be too much to ask for of California.

Dawg April 7, 2022 - 12:43 PM

It’s not feasible. It’s unnecessary, and a waste of money. Trains cost too much to build and operate. Newsom said it himself in the State of the State Address that the current plan is costing too much and is taking too long, and that drastic cuts have been made. The focus is now on a corridor from Bakersfield and Merced in the Central Valley, away from the most populated cities.
When Jerry Brown came up with the idea, it was estimated at a cost of $33 billion, it’s now over $77 billion and climbing.
The train to nowhere is a complete political boondoggle. Newsom is a show-off, it’s important to him that he presents California as a leader in infrastructure and technology.

Strad April 7, 2022 - 12:49 PM


DD April 7, 2022 - 1:02 PM

From Merced to Bakersfield?
I don’t think so.

ON DA April 7, 2022 - 1:11 PM

It’s not feasible. Any geo scientist could easily explain this in less than 3 sec.

Old Timer April 7, 2022 - 1:14 PM

Hell no it’s a Politicians pipe dream.It will never work and they will never have the money to keep it going.This state has lot it.

hanne jeppesen April 7, 2022 - 1:29 PM

As most of you know who come here, I grew up in Denmark. I grew up 30 miles south of Copenhagen, my parents never owned a car. Whenever I wanted to go somewhere as a teenager or young adult, I had to take the train, the bus or ride my bike. I had ride my bike to the train station, a little more than a mile away. I love trains, I took the train from Copenhagen to Venice in the mid sixties. I have taken the train from NYC to Boston, and last time I visited my girl friend in Gothenburg Sweden I took the high speed rail from Gothenburg to Stockholm. Often have taken the train from Copenhagen to Gothenburg. All those trips were very enjoyable, and you could really enjoy the landscape.
However, I don’t see that a high speed rail in California makes any sense. It would go through areas that are not very populated, then when you get to Los Angeles, you still need some other transportation, most likely a car, depending where you need to go. High speed rails in Europe goes right to the center of a city, and European cities are not spread out like LA, they also have very good public transportation within the various cities. A lot of times you can walk around to the different attractions. Copenhagen’s Tivoli Garden is located right behind the main train station, and you can walk to the best shopping area in about 10-20 minutes. High speed rail on the East Coast from DC to Boston, makes more sense, the cities are closer together and East Coast cities are not as spread out as Los Angeles and other California cities. To address what someone mentioned, no I don’t think the trains here would be as clean as in Europe. I have never been for the high speed rail in California, which often surprise people, since as a liberal and European I’m expected to be for it, but for the reasons stated I cannot support it.

Fed Up April 7, 2022 - 3:29 PM


Badge1104 April 7, 2022 - 7:40 PM

Well said Hanne.
And I could guarantee you that in California the train would be trashed with graffiti and garbage and probably have homeless people and thugs riding it for free..
It’s a whole stupid idea of EX Governor Jerry Brown. I think he never had a train set when he was a child and was trying to make up for it.
Some proponents claim it will link all the cities in the Central valley together. So I guess it could work as a commute train for farm workers? Don’t think so, they need their trucks

Gator April 7, 2022 - 9:55 PM

Well said. By the way, the station in Copenhagen is absolutely beautiful. And yes, within walking distance to many areas…

Anonymous April 8, 2022 - 1:18 AM

How do you bring home a minivan full of groceries on public transportation?

Tsa April 7, 2022 - 1:42 PM

NO. It’s just another money pit scheme for politicians.

idiots everywhere April 7, 2022 - 1:45 PM

The ballot prop was a fake bill of goods that any wise voter should have voted no on. We are basically taking away prime ag land to overbuild a system that no one will ride. The plan has no realistic way of paying for tunnels through the mountains to San Jose or into the greater LA Basin. Improving the existing railway between LA and San Jose along the coast would have been a better use of funds.

Stealthy Mama April 7, 2022 - 2:04 PM

Dagnabit!!! California has always tried to find ways to suck the life out of us, the taxpayers.

Original G April 7, 2022 - 2:16 PM

Do you like your tax dollars repeatedly squandered ? ? ? ?

IF you want a project royally screwed up, years late, obscenely over budget all you need do is let those running CA, be in charge.

Bay Bridge tower’s lean

‘Ten Years Late/$5 Billion Over Budget—Bay Bridge Riddled With Problems’

From $250 Million to $6.5 Billion: The Bay Bridge Cost Overrun

‘High-Speed Rail Failures Continue, With Your Money’

‘Uncertain funding, rising costs and long delays — just another day for California high-speed rail’

‘Why Tokyo’s Privately Owned Rail Systems Work So Well’

Even political cartoonists have it figured out HSR in CA,

Glen223 April 7, 2022 - 2:18 PM

Nope. Absolutely not!!!!!

The public voted for it based on overly optimistic ridership, incomplete studies and estimates (technical and financial) and lack of financial commitment… among other things.

This was/is purely a political pipe dream. It will NEVER reach the ridership it assumed and will NEVER reach the speeds claimed or the gates claimed. It will NEVER have the infrastructure needed to operate – whether it’s the right-of-way, security, power (whether electric or other for operation). It will NEVER be completed as claimed (schedule).

It’s already WAY over budget and significantly delayed in its construction schedule. Its the biggest political boondoggle this state has seen in decades.

Need to abandon it NOW and write off what’s been done as a monument to political stupidity.

chuckie the troll April 7, 2022 - 2:26 PM

The California High Speed Rail Project was designed to benefit many special interests, but not the citizens of California. It was a boondoggle from day 1 and continues to consume money at an astounding rate. The project will never deliver on the promises made when they bought a place on the ballot. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise.

Honest, logically minded people (which pretty much excludes the entire Democrat Party) would have used that money to widen Hwy 5, 99 and 101 for starters. Congestion=increased pollution+ fuel consumption.

idiots everywhere April 7, 2022 - 2:50 PM

Yep, I love rail travel, but estimating profitability based on trains arriving every six minutes into San Francisco is a joke.

Glen223 April 7, 2022 - 3:08 PM

I believe the prime beneficiaries were the politicians’ spouses who were heavily into real estate investment.

So much for ethics in government.

Randy April 7, 2022 - 3:01 PM

…no way…. over budget by hundreds of %’s currently and you can imagine the overruns it would cost in the future… hundreds of billions of dollars overrun …. $$ that should be used elsewhere with more priority.. Newsom said in a campaign promise he would stop it – did he? nooooooooo just like him getting gas prices in Cali in parity with the rest of the country… another unfulfilled campaign promise

The Mamba April 7, 2022 - 3:26 PM

No, you can fly anywhere in CA for under $200 in under two hours, it’s ridiculous.

Hanne Jeppesen April 7, 2022 - 5:38 PM

Yes, but you have the same problem with flying as with the train. When you get to your destination you still need some other form of transportation, or you will have to inconvenience someone to pick you up. I choose to drive down to visit my daughter in Pasadena, because I don’t have to hassle with parking at the airport, and going through security, and when I drive, I have a car so I can get around if I want to do some shopping etc. When I drive, I can stop anytime, listen to my favorite radio station either talk radio or music.

Glen223 April 8, 2022 - 9:13 AM

Hanne – and you have the same problem at each station on the (not) high speed rail. Given the technical issues (geology, infrastructure, rights-of-way, etc..) this method of transportation will NEVER approach the speed claimed….

This is nothing but a political boondoggle foisted on a non- thinking public using rosy projections and assumptions- none of which were/are valid.

Who’s going to provide the travel infrastructure from the stations to wherever else you need to go from the HSR terminal(s)? Private companies won’t do that unless there’s som profit for them in it… which means that’ll be more subsidies by the gubmint. It may “eventually” happen – but not in our lifetimes.

Cellophane April 7, 2022 - 4:08 PM

I’d like to see more high-speed rail in this country.

But as long as politicians control everything, we are doomed to the failures of our corrupt government.

There are entrepreneurs with great ideas that could work very well but big money has bought off the politicians.

As long as corrupt politicians run the government, there is no chance of anything other than failure.

Jeff (the other one) April 7, 2022 - 4:25 PM

My understanding is that this current train is not high speed rail, just rail. The time from SF to LA and the speeds they claim are fantasy. The cost will be prohibitive, the conditions will start nice and then trend to miserable. This state cannot keep most of the roadways in decent condition, in spite of excessive tolls and gas tax. Maintaining track, trains, crossings, etc., will crumble after a year. I guess it will facilitate those sneaking in to move themselves (and their product) north. I also wonder, we saw all the boxes from stolen goods littering near the tracks in LA, can you imagine the return of the Jesse James style train robberies…

Xennial April 7, 2022 - 4:25 PM

I would love it. Sure planes are faster, but you get crammed in like sardines. On a train you actually have space to work, or just hang-out with people with a comfortable seat, leg room and even table space.
On the train bring a book, or cards, or a boardgame, or a couple of six-packs. You can’t do any of that driving a car and planes are notorious enough to be nicknamed “torture tubes.” If time is tight you have to fly, but given the option I would take a train every time.

ChuckStir April 7, 2022 - 5:02 PM

How about desalination plants instead, as the politicians are always spouting off about climate change and our droughts.

Ricardoh April 8, 2022 - 12:52 PM

Exactly. However if we had honest people running our government who were not constantly thinking of lining their pockets or their relatives pockets we would have both.

lorna wallace April 7, 2022 - 11:20 PM

Xennial… Thank YOU! Well said, kiddo.
Personally, I have no reason to zoom down to SoCal and back, quickly, but unlike the majority (except for Ms. Jeppesen), I say getting us off of oil, and autos, has got to become more acceptable to people. So trains are good in that way, IMHO

SAM April 8, 2022 - 6:04 AM

I just converted a tesla to a gas chevy 350. Runs great, sounds great and smells great.

There’s nothing wrong with oil. You fools are out of control.

Kauai Mike April 8, 2022 - 5:09 AM

Just another leftist pie-in-the-sky boondoggle to pad the pockets of political friends. Pay up saps!

jose April 8, 2022 - 6:11 AM

No way………..
If it finished guess who will end up paying for it again to continue to operate?
Ever heard of AmTrac? Gumment subsidies keeps it rolling.
The new ‘high speed’ model will be what people now call it. “The train to knowwhere”. Who’s coal will make the electricity to keep it rolling?

Jojo The Circus Clown April 8, 2022 - 8:05 AM

Should hire the Japanese to get the job done … Japan has the world’s best #traingame

Doh April 8, 2022 - 8:33 AM

No. Compare the price to the Bay Bridge “repair.” Bay Bridge estimate was $900,000-. Using the same math means the train will cost $600 billion.We need to stop the spending after the $30 million is spent.

No one will use it. How does one get to the train and how do they get around once they have arrived?

Spend the money on schools and infrastructure.

Cowellian April 8, 2022 - 9:22 AM

I hired you people to try to get a little track laid, . . .

Justifiable languor April 8, 2022 - 9:33 AM

No. It is a pet project because of insider shenanigans. The farmers in our rich agriculture valley were swindled out of their property, with help from politicians. Starved of water, their businesses failed. Totally contrived. They sold their land for a song and developers want to build along the rails.

Considering the guaranteed food shortages coming our way – Thanks Biden – is it wise to build on our fertile farm lands?

Concord res April 8, 2022 - 12:10 PM

Yes, but they picked the wrong path. It should not have cut through ag areas. Should have run along the highways.

Tired April 8, 2022 - 2:29 PM

NOPE! About 80 farmers have been victimized by Cali for this railway. Promising them to pay them for their land and not getting a dime because of lawyers and bureaucracy. The farmers had to move irrigation ditches and one Almond grower was informed by the state to move his mature trees by placing them in plastic buckets. Id rather have fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts than a railway to bring more trash into our communities.

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