The power of experiencing things first hand….
There has been a lot of handwringing about the suspended funds for Caltrains Electrification project and one of the things that shocks me so much is the hostility to public works projects here in the states. The question for me is why? I think it’s that like many things in life, it is easy to be against something or for something in the abstract but difficult to hold a position so vehmently once you experience it first hand. And rail and mass transit in the US falls into that category as most people have never ridden on a good train system. I initially was against California High Speed Rail (HSR) which is the system between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
However, once one experiences the rail system in Japan, Europe and China and see what it enables when it’s done better than we do here. You see the potential for unlocking people’s range in new dimensions. So assumptions dissolve. For others to understand the possibilities, we have to leave our habits of our backyard. So I suggest that if you are traveling to Europe or China, look into rail and see what a difference from your pre-conceived notions are. I only hope that the legislative members against HSR go see where it has succeeded and look at the data showing the economic transformation. That’s not to say that they are doing it perfect elsewhere, but we can learn we can do better, but we also learn to appreciate what we have.
We live in an age where we have a battle over ideas, but it’s ideas of what we think something is rather a battle of how things actually are.