Saturday Open Thread
Hope everyone is staying warm out there! Here are some stories for the weekend:
• Metro bought Union Station this week from Catellus, the development company founded by Southern Pacific, for $75 million. This will help clear the path to bring high speed rail to Union Station, and should give Metro more flexibility in how the historic station – and hub of the Southern California passenger rail network – is used.
• Great post from our friends at the Seattle Transit Blog on the conservative case for high speed rail. This is some solid stuff, and helps explain why many California Republicans – especially at the local level in the Central Valley – are very strongly supportive of the project.
• Speaking of conservatives and high speed rail, apparently the new Atlas Shrugged movie features a high speed train as one of the core projects of the story’s protagonist. I am highly unlikely to ever sit through that movie, but it’s interesting if it gets the right to be more comfortable with the concept of HSR. True, the book and presumably the film will also preach against government spending, and appeals to a very small audience, so I’m not going to expect much in terms of positive outcomes for HSR from the film.
• In the wake of last year’s legislative fight over getting SNCF to apologize for its role in the Holocaust during the Nazi occupation of France in the 1940s, a similar effort is being mounted by an ex-POW against Japanese companies that had profited off of POW labor during World War II in Japan.