The CHSRA Board selected the first 65-mile segment to build for its high-speed rail project. I was struck by this comment from project manager Hans Van Winkle:
Van Winkle described the section as a good mix of rural and urban space that will let engineers who have never built high-speed rail develop a “learning curve” on how to proceed with the rest of the project, “to allow us to get up to speed very, very quickly,” he explained. “Nobody in the United States has built high-speed rail before … this is not a short-term project,” he said. “We’re going to be here a long time.”
This comment confirms what critics have been saying all along — that this is a project being done by amateurs.
It also contradicts a talking point from Board Member Quentin Kopp:
TREFNY: How can you make sure when you’re projecting costs and ridership, which are two of the big things in question, when you’re projecting 20 years down the line, how can you be sure that your estimate is as good as it can possibly be?
KOPP: By the quality of the engineers and the cost experts and the ridership experts who supply the data for those estimates. You get the best possible firms and the best possible people that you can. I’m satisfied that the High-Speed Rail Authority has obtained the services of the best experts in terms of ridership forecasts and in terms of construction costs and engineering and design costs.