The Instigator
Con (against)
The Contender
Pro (for)

California's High Speed Rail: Other states should wait.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/26/2017 Category: Places-Travel
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 627 times Debate No: 102777
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California's High Speed Rail is an attempt to keep the damage inflicted upon the environment to a minimum. The Authority behind the plans for this project are aiming to have the project use energy from only sustainable resources. Needless to say, it is far from finished, and other states should not wait until the rail is finished before they begin working on similar projects. Because if they do, then the time that would have went to the states doing their own research will be wasted on spectating another state's endeavors.


The California High Speed Rail is a proposal that has already convinced my opponent of its many advantages. Despite the many proposed adavantages offered, my opponent has failed to provide any evidence for the feasibility of such a plan. I do not blame my opponent for this failure due to the California High Speed Rail Authority's inability to provide consistant evidence to the public for the feasibility of such a railway. My case will consist of the intentions, progress, efficiency, consistancy, feasibility, and overall reliability of the California High Speed Rail. The prisms through which I assess the California High Speed Rail are directly perinent to the decision making process Con wishes to impell upon other states.

Contention 1: Intention:
The set of objectives the California High- Speed Authority have put in place for this project includes 1) to create a connection between Anhaim and Los Angeles, 2) to extend the system northward through the Central Valley, than to Sacremento where it will be furthured to San Diego. Current estimates conclude that contstruction of this project will be complete by 2029. Current estimites claim that the train will be capable of traveling 229 miles per hour. Current estimates also claim that by phase 1's completion, 650 million dollars in revenue will be generated. In 2022, C02 emissions will be cut by 200,000 to 600,000 metric tons. A timetable for phase 2 has not been created yet. The train must contain 450 seats. The California government has permitted 60 billion dollars to this project. The reason for why this project has gained so much support is because of how much time would be saved if phase 1 were a success. Currently, it takes 4-6 hours to drive from San Francisco to Las Vegas. The ride itself would cover 520 miles. The California High Speed Rail, if successful, is estimated to mitigate that time to 2 hours and 40 minutes.

Although the convience of time mitigation seems beneficial, it still does not justify the massive squaderance if 60 billion dollars. Billions of dollars must not be misallocated for the sake of how awe-inspiring a project is. Money does not grow on trees. Money must be allocated towards programs that benefit the majority of people without exhausting and increasing taxes. If the California government and other state governments were allowed to allocate money to any ambitious and big-scale product, than most states would be in debt. The crux of pro's argument would rely upon how beneficial this project would be towards combating climate change. If Pro were to put forth this argument, than he must provide evidence for how feasible the goal is. The assumption that C02 will be reduced so heavily relies upon how many people will use this rail as a mode of transportation. Similar projects were created in Europe which failed to attract as many people as expected. Even if there is a 45% chance that a only a small portion of the California population will use this rail as a mode of transportation, than the California government will not only have misallocated useful 60 billion dollars, but will also have to answer to those who were forced to pay for this plan.

Contention 2: Progress and Reliability
This project began in 2011, and is pojected to be completed by 2029. Progress and reliability go hand in hand due to how variable funding has been for this project.
Reason’s 2008 Due Diligence Report offered the most comprehensive review of the project as of that date and warned:
The CHSRA lacks a comprehensive financing plan. The proposed state bonds would be insufficient to build Phase I, much less the rest of the system. Little appears firm about potential matching funds from federal and local governments and from potential investors. . . . CHSRA advisor Lehman Brothers has outlined risks that can be a barrier to private investment, including cost overruns, failure to reach ridership and revenue projections and political meddling. . . . it appears unlikely that sufficient private funding and public subsidies will be found to finance the complete HSR plan.66 April 29, 2010 –
Financial Details Lacking State Auditor Elaine M. Howle, in a report to the governor, Senate and Assembly, expressed similar dissatisfactions: The December 2009 business plan of the High speed Rail Authority lacks detail regarding how it proposes to finance the high speed rail network and mitigate associated risks. . . . Further, the Authority estimates it will need $10 billion to $12 billion in private investment. Although it claims private interest is high, the Authority has not received any commitments from private investors.67 June 28, 2011 – Danger to State’s Debt Service Obligations State Treasurer Bill Lockyer called the project’s financing and its potential effect on state debt into question. According to California Watch: I think the federal funding is too speculative [and] the likelihood of significant private capital is questionable.” . . . Lockyer said that in the next 25 years, the state will be asked to build about $400 billion worth of infrastructure projects – everything from schools to flood control measures. “I don’t see the likelihood of public bond financing for as much as half of that number. . . . The state’s debt service obligation has been increasing rapidly.” And so, “because of the inability to finance all the needed infrastructure investments and the constraints on the growth of debt, it requires us to start allocating between the differing competing needs. . . . Is it prudent to cancel another worthwhile project and sell bonds for rail, given the project’s unsettled Lacking this, the project as it is currently planned is not financially “feasible.”70 January 24, 2012 – Increasingly Risky State Auditor Elaine M. Howle declared: [T]he program’s overall financial situation has become increasingly risky, in part because the Authority has not provided viable funding alternatives in the event that its planned funding does not materialize. In its 2012 draft business plan, the Authority more than doubles its cost estimates for phase one of the program, to between $98.1 billion and $117.6 billion. Of this amount, the Authority has secured approximately $12.5 billion to date. The success or failure of the program consequently depends upon the Authority’s ability to obtain between $85.6 billion and $105.1 billion by 2033. In its 2012 draft business plan, the Authority identifies the federal government as by far the largest potential funding source for the program, yet the plan provides few details indicating how the Authority expects to secure this money. Further, the plan does not present viable alternatives in the event that it does not receive significant federal

Contention 3: Other States
The reason for my I alloted so much time towards this debate is because this is an example of how an idealistic endaevor could exacerbate many problems. I believe in the destructive repercussions of climate change, and believe that we ought to take effective measeares to combat climate change. We should not resort to idealistic endeavors that squander money, time, and energy of competent people. I am not asserting that the California High Rail project is doomed to failure. I am just arguing that the better course of action is that other states should see the results before they allocate billions of dollars into their own enery sustaining projects. A squaderance of money should not be a crisis many states in America should face.

Works Cited:
Debate Round No. 1


Hmm....Maybe so, But if the Rail Project fails, then greedy petroleum companies will take advantage of that loss, and convince the public that zero emissions are absolutely impossible and indirectly state that they should skimp on their efforts to protect the climate, just so that they can keep the outdated "drill baby, drill" incentive, and protect the moola.


You express that their is a likelihood of the Rail Project failing. Instead of allowing for other states to also experience failure, which would bolster not hurt the case fossil fuel companies make, states should instead direct their attention to Elon Musk's hyperloop idea. It is also a fast and energy sufficient mode of transportation. We are very lucky to have a man with a Silicon Valley CEO way of thinking trying to find new ways to make us energy dependent.
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