We are embarrassed after all the fun we have been having, poking at the adventures and misadventures of the proposed California high-speed train that is planned to run between Los Angeles (or maybe Orange County) and San Francisco, via the Central Valley (Bakersfield and Modesto). California voters approved a $9 billion bond issue back in 2009, but the cost has gone up and is now estimated at sixtysomething billion dollars. Construction has not yet begun.
And so our embarrassment came from reading a piece in today’s New York Times (Keith Bradsher, On Longest Bullet Train Line, Chinese Ride 1,200 Miles in 8 Hours, December 27, 2012, at p. B1 – click here) informing us that Chinese high-speed trains are in operation, and China now has 5,809 miles of high-speed train lines, operating at 218 mph. So far, we Americans have bobkes. But the Chinese achievements didn’t come cheap — the Chinese hired 100,000 construction workers for each high-speed line (three so far) and incurred a debt of $640 billion.