Springtime Light Rail Trip Highlights Green Agenda

    Dear Editor,

    As a UCSD student, I know my generation, and the generations
    after us, will suffer the most from global warming, traffic, peak oil and
    growing transportation problems. That’s why, with nearly 50 other college
    students from all over California,
    I decided to do something a little different for my spring break.

    We went on a road trip, but not to Mexico.
    Instead, we traveled the route of the proposed high-speed rail line from San
    Francisco
    down to San Diego,
    and met with local leaders and reporters along the way to share why we students
    believe high-speed rail is essential to the future of California.
    At our San Diego stop, Escondido
    Mayor Lori Holt Pfeiler, National City Mayor Ron Morrison, Solana Beach Mayor
    Joe Kellejian and High Speed Rail Authority Board Member Lynn Shenk joined us
    in calling for the high-speed rail project to be built as quickly as possible.

    Global warming creates rising sea levels, which threaten our
    coastline and decrease snow pack in the Sierra Nevada
    that reduces our water supply; the largest source of global warming pollution
    is our use of oil for transportation. We need cleaner and more efficient cars,
    but we also need to drive less in order to reduce our pollution levels by 80
    percent by 2050, as scientists say we must to avoid the worst impacts.

    Building a high-speed rail line is not just about reducing
    global warming pollution. More than 37 million people live in California
    right now, and our population is expected to grow to 50 million residents by
    2030. Traffic congestion in our urban areas already ranks as some of the worst
    in the country, wasting our time and gas. For example, the average commuter in San
    Diego
    spends an additional 57 hours a year stuck in
    traffic. Skyrocketing oil prices serve as a reminder that the era of cheap oil
    is already over.

    If we don’t build a high-speed rail line, we will default to
    more roads and highways instead, not to mention expensive airport expansions.
    Those alternatives don’t just increase our reliance on cars. They are actually
    more expensive than building high-speed rail. I know that we need people like
    me speaking out in support of the high-speed rail, which for too long has been
    delayed by politicians who want to spend money on roads instead.

    So that’s why I decided to do something a little different
    for my spring break. I want to be able to get from the Bay Area to Los
    Angeles
    in less than three hours by train. Because we
    need to reduce our pollution. Because traffic will only get worse without
    alternatives like high-speed rail. Because California
    has a choice to make about our transportation future, and high-speed rail is a
    much better choice than more highways and airport runways.

    — Erin Steva

    Campus Organizer,

    California Student Public Interest Research Group

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