Skip to comments.Could wartime records derail high-speed trains?
Posted on 07/10/2010 5:40:59 AM PDT by Willie Green
Lawmakers in California voted unanimously on June 29 to approve a proposed law that would force any company bidding for contracts to build the states new $43 billion high-speed rail system to disclose whether they transported Jews, American soldiers or others to concentration camps during the Holocaust.
Its author, Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, a Democrat, specifically highlighted the wartime record of SNCF, which nowadays operates Frances TGV high-speed trains. The French firm expects that the bill will clear all further legislative hurdles, including the sign-off by the normally veto-prone governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Providing the details required by the law will be fairly easy for SNCF. Facing questions about its record, it commissioned a study in 1992 on how it deported Jews en route to Nazi death camps.
The report described how it carried out the Vichy governments orders with no protest or resistance except for isolated acts by individual railwaymen, and took payment for the shipments.
The firm will also have to state that despite a series of lawsuits it avoided paying compensation for its acts: It successfully argued that it was under the orders of the French government and German occupiers.
SNCF fully supports the disclosure of the details of its wartime operations, says Peter Kelly, the companys lawyer in Los Angeles.
Its competitors for a share of Californias high-speed billions are likely to include rail firms from Germany and its wartime friends, Spain, Italy and Japan, which will also have to disclose their past conduct.
According to people close to the states rail project, Japanese railway executives are especially worried that the law will damage their prospects. Although firms records cannot be used to bar them from bidding for contracts or winning them, they fear that the disclosures could create a stigma and prompt public lobbying against them.
High-speed rail advocates suspect that support for the law may be driven by a protectionist desire to keep foreign firms out of one of Americas most important infrastructure projects.
US Railcar, a start-up passenger-railcar manufacturer, has warned Congress that Americas security could be compromised if foreign companies win a big share of the high-speed rail contracts.
But if America wants true high-speed rail, says Andy Kunz, president of the U.S. High Speed Rail Association, it has no choice but to bring in foreign firms.
Whereas European and Asian firms have long experience of building dedicated high-speed systems with trains hurtling along at 200 mph or more, what most American firms plan to offer is medium-speed trains running on existing freight tracks.
America doesn't want true high-speed rail.
Nations are collective bodies devoid of feelings or emotions such as wants, hopes and sorrows.
It may be true that a sizable number of Americans want "true high-speed rail" for whatever personal reasons, mostly I believe disconnected from economic reality.
But then I'm still wishing for teleportation as in Star Trek. Wanting and wishing will not make it so.
Neither will giving politicians control of billions of California taxpayers' dollars and hoping they will behave themselves, just this once.
The recent vote in the legislature demonstrates that this isn't going to happen.
Hey..how about that flying car. Pretty cool huh?
That's quite a number, 47%. Where'd you get it?
Might have been 47% of LA
That's quite a number, 47%. Where'd you get it?
I think it used a random number generator.
How about the rail systems that transported Japanese-Americans to concentration camps in WW2?
Too close to home cali-libtards?
Never forget that 72.7% of statistics are made up.
(100%, in the case of global warming.)
Your car will be faster. And do these proposals count the massive cost of this land grab? Or the subsidy per passengers per trip costs?
Proving once again that moving back to the 19th Century is a very costly socialist bad idea.
at a theoretical 80 mph between numerous stops...
Do you have a source for this deceitful misinformation that you attempted to append to the quote from the article???
I want the Post office to bring back the Pony Express.
Why? Does the mail smell differently upon arrival?
this is so true.
don’t want and can’t afford.
maybe willie shud poll Freepers - once and for all, on public transportation of the rail variety
If were going to waste $$ on antiquated travel, at least let it be romantic.
For something that was done over 60 years ago in a foreign country ? this guys a dammed retard,nobody with any damm sense should do any business with California at all
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