With the completion of high-speed rail, valley residents will be connected to the rest of the state like never before. In under an hour, we will be able to travel to San Francisco or Los Angeles without the hassle of airport security or high-priced gasoline.Of all of the reasons to support high speed rail, the hassle of airport security and high priced gasoline are the worst. Even with high gas prices fuel to drive will be cheaper than one ticket on the train. In addition, it now takes two hours to drive from Merced to San Francisco, so by the time you account for door-to-door travel times it is unlikely that there will be any time savings. That said, using the excuse of airport security hassles as a reason to invest $100 billion in a fast train is passive aggressive infrastructure spending. I bet for a lot less than $100 billion we can make air travel much better. More importantly, if air travel is a hassle let's make it better. Air security is lousy because it is managed poorly and there are lots of ways to improve security within the airports we already have. I'm also not sure why people think trains will be exempt from similar security measures. Passengers on the Acela are regularly pulled aside for additional screening as it is.
Let's not let the TSA get away with awful security theater by building new and different infrastructure. Let's fix what we have first.