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High-speed trains too costly for U.S. taxpayers

Construction of California's high-speed rail project in Fresno, Calif. at Shown S. Cedar Avenue. and SR-99.
Construction of California's high-speed rail project in Fresno, Calif. at Shown S. Cedar Avenue. and SR-99. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

Your recent editorial ("Better than flying,” Feb. 19) supporting the Green New Deal's idea of replacing air travel with high-speed train travel was insubstantial and contained weak arguments. People (usually politicians) have been proposing high-speed trains for many years, usually in the form of magnetic levitation technology. This form of train is used in the California plan which has recently been significantly cut back because of rapidly increasing costs.

Paying for such a long distance, high-speed form of transportation is the main reason we do not have such trains in the United States. High-speed trains do exist in smaller, more densely populated countries where the government has more involvement in transportation systems. We have seen that Amtrak has not proven very successful since its management was taken over by the government. In addition, your argument that "a train can move a ton of cargo more than 400 miles on a gallon of fuel" while "a Boeing 747...burns one gallon of fuel every second" is nonsensical. Assuming these values are accurate, they in no way are a direct comparison of the efficiencies of the two modes of transporting material.

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Your editorial staff needs a knowledgeable technical expert to review your opinion pieces before they are published. You haven't convinced me of the necessity of government now funding these very expensive projects. Why should the taxpayers in the multitude of small towns and cities across the country that won't have a high-speed train in their area pay for these trains mainly designed for the coastal populations?

David Griggs, Columbia

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