HSR Opponents Working Hard to Turn Me Into a Supporter

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Regular readers know that I’m not a fan of the proposed LA-San Francisco high-speed rail project, and as the projected costs have ballooned I’ve become even less of a fan. But lord almighty, stuff like this could change my mind:

The fast trains connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco would create new communities of high-density apartments and small homes around stations, reducing the suburbanization of California, rail advocates say. That new lifestyle would mean fewer cars and less gasoline consumption, lowering California’s contribution to global warming.

….Opponents, most of whom are political conservatives, regard the ambitious project as a classic government overreach that will require taxpayer subsidies. But they also see something more sinister: an agenda to push people into European or Asian models of dense cities, tight apartments and reliance on state-provided transportation.

….”It is a real movement in California of controlling the masses, controlling land use, deciding where people should live,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare). “I oppose that absolutely, because it is a form of left-wing social engineering.”

….”It has nothing to do with transportation. This is entirely social policy,” said Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Granite Bay). “It is all about the far left’s fever dream to get mother Earth back to a pristine condition by elbowing us into these dense urban cores.”

So who spilled the beans, anyway? Now the whole world knows that we lefties are drooling over the prospect of taking away everyone’s homes and engineering a forced march into modern-day high-rise concentration camps where the cable companies don’t offer Fox News. All the better to control you with, my sweeties.

Yeesh. But that’s the mindset we’re up against. Not we’re giving people more lifestyle choices but your lifestyle choice is inherently insulting to the one I prefer. And sweet reason will do little to change this. As Matt Yglesias, one of our most vocal proponents of denser lifestyles, says, “A lot of the time there’s genuinely no substitute for changing people’s minds.”

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THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

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