A misguided Editorial in the North County Times (San Diego) questions whether HSR service into San Diego would preclude extending the Sprinter DMU service into downtown San Diego:
Now state rail planners want to run the high-speed rail line along Interstate 15, which brings its own problems. Chief among them is that it would seem to eliminate the possibility of a local and long-talked-about light-rail line running from Escondido to San Diego proper along I-15. While we continue to believe that scarce transportation funds should be put into those methods that most people use —- i.e., freeways —- surely a light-rail line like the Sprinter or Coaster, or even an extension of the San Diego Trolley, makes far more sense than an expensive, intrusive and highly controversial bullet train.
This is certainly not the first time a newspaper editorial has raised the issue of HSR vs. local transport. It is a false dilemma because it presumes railroad tracks cannot be shared among a multitude of services.
Within urban areas, HSR trains will be traveling at conventional speeds anyway. And HSR is not like a metro, with trains running every few minutes. There is any number of ways an I15 alignment could be engineered to incorporate an extension of the Sprinter service. Indeed, that should be the goal! And it would be not complicated either, as Sprinter already uses UIC-spec, non-FRA-compliant rolling stock.
The real blame here is not with Editorial writers, but the CHSRA itself. They seem utterly uninterested in the regional/commuter benefits of this new infrastructure. If CHSRA won’t promote the local benefits of new ROW, then no wonder Editorial writers are confused.