Bullet train promises fast relief

first_imgHigh-speed trains connecting Northern and Southern California have been in the talking-about phase for, it seems, my entire life. But with congestion getting worse (does it ever get better?) and traffic jams now common occurrences in the middle of the state’s vast nowhere, the talk has turned serious. Rights-of-way are being established, and the preliminary environmental review is under way. Throughout the next few weeks, Los Angeles is getting its first glimpse of the bullet-train plan in a series of community meetings in places close to proposed stations, such as Glendale on April 4 (Burbank station) and Sylmar (which will be getting its own station) on April 10. I caught up with the show at the Friendship Auditorium in Griffith Park on Wednesday night. Dan Templis, a project manager with the engineering firm Hatch Mott MacDonald, which is working on the L.A.-to-Palmdale stretch, outlined the plan with the help of a mostly animated DVD showing the sleek and futuristic train zipping down the 99 Freeway, through tunnels in the hills of Central California and into the mega train stations of Tomorrowland. The catch, of course, is cash. Building the train requires an investment of $40 billion, at least. That’s the equivalent of $1,000 per person for the 40 million people expected to live in California in a few short years. That’s also about half of what the governor proposed for fixing all state infrastructure. It’s a whole lot of money for a state that doesn’t much use the trains it’s got already. We’ll find out soon if the public is ready for a bullet train. The first of the bonds of the project – $10 billion – is expected to be on the November 2008 ballot. It’s considered seed money. And it’s a steep price for something that won’t do us much good for another 13 years. But imagine what that could be like. I have been traveling the Southern California-Bay Area section of Interstate 5 for nearly 30 years, ever since as a kid I shuttled between my San Diego mom and San Francisco dad. The trips became even more regular during my college years, when I missed home and warm weather. I still regularly travel the route to visit family and friends who stubbornly refuse to move south. All the while, the drive has been getting incrementally worse. I noticed, but didn’t really care. Not until the fateful Thanksgiving weekend in 2002, when I got stuck in a 200-mile traffic jam between Los Banos and the Grapevine. What used to be a fairly pleasant trip is now an ordeal, and costly, too. I’ll never forget the night my niece was diagnosed with leukemia. I jumped into my car at 10 p.m. and headed for Stanford Children’s Hospital, planning to set the cruise at 90 mph for an easy, late-night drive. Instead, I got a harrowing, truck-congested, windblown nightmare of a long, slow and dangerous drive. Like the 405, traffic through the Central Valley is a 24/7 kind of thing. That was 19 months ago. My niece beat her cancer, but Interstate 5 probably never will beat its affliction. And that realization makes me wonder whether $40 billion is really all that much. Mariel Garza is a columnist and editorial writer for the Los Angeles Daily News. Write to her by e-mail at mariel.garza@dailynews.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! TWO and a half hours. It’s the amount of time it takes to watch a Scorsese movie. It’s the length one must sit still for a haircut and color. It’s the time it should take to drive from Los Angeles to San Diego, but usually doesn’t. It also used to be the time – way back in the pre-Sept. 11 era – that it took to step into LAX, get on a plane and end up in San Francisco, ready for some high times in North Beach. Ah, those were the days. That 21/2 hours travel time from Union Station to downtown San Francisco might be a possibility once again – or at least that’s the sales pitch for the proposed Fly California bullet train. With a little luck, and a whole lot of love from voters next year, the train will be running regular L.A.-S.F. routes starting in 2020. That short travel time is what the High Speed Rail Authority hopes will sell the state on the most expensive public-works project in U.S. history – a 700-mile system of super-fast electric trains (125 mph in the city; 220 mph in the open country) from San Diego to the Bay Area and Sacramento. Watch out, cow! last_img read more

Jason Behrendorff laughs off comparisons with WWE superstar John Cena

first_imgHe is ecstatic after his match-winning performance in his very second international game but rookie left-arm speedster Jason Behrendorff’s ultimate aim is to play Test cricket for a long time.”Test cricket is the ultimate prize and wearing the baggy green cap is something I am sure all cricketers aspire to and I certainly do. I will be pursuing and doing everything I can to play Test cricket,” Behrendorff said after winning Man of the Match award for his 4/21 in Australia’s eight wicket victory.Having bowled just an over on his debut in Ranchi, the lanky pacer made the most of the overcast conditions to rip through the Indian top four – Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli and Manish Pandey – in 15 deliveries.The feeling of winning a game for Australia is yet to sink in. “An unbelievable feeling to be honest. Ranchi was almost nearly not getting on at all, to get one over was great to get out there but to bowl four overs tonight to take four wickets but mainly to get a win, to get the boys back up and about after a pretty tough time in the one-dayers, it’s very special,” said Behrendorff.”I was really happy with that. A few ones that I got hit to the boundary probably were not obviously where I needed to be bowling. But obviously to get the ball up there, swing the ball, hit guys on the pads and nick blokes off those are the things we talk about in our meetings to get the balls in those areas especially up front so I was very happy with that.”advertisementIt’s interesting to see if Australia would field two left-armers in Behrendorff and Mitchell Starc in the upcoming Ashes. “We are left-armers, we both swing it a bit. Mitch bowls a bit quicker than I do, but I know Mitch reasonably well. I’ve spent a bit of time playing with him occasionally but mainly against him. He is someone that I feel I can talk to and get some advice off as well.”Having been hit for two boundaries in the first over, Behrendorff set it up nicely for Rohit Sharma. The full length delivery swung back to trap him leg before. “For me, that’s what I generally try to do — swing it back, that’s my plan up front especially to the right handers,” he said.Behrendorff has also gained attention for his close resemblance to WWE superstar John Cena. Behrendorff was in splits after Cena’s name came up in the post match press conference.”From what I can understand he is a fair bit bigger than I am. But I’ll take it (the comparisons made by fans), sure.”Being aggressive may be fast bowlers’ forte but Behrendorff wants his ball to do the talking. “You don’t have to be mean and nasty all the time. Generally I try and let my skills and the ball do the work and let that do the talking for me instead of getting into a verbal battle or anything like that.”Some guys enjoy that and that’s what gets them going and fired up, but it’s not really my style.”Having struggled with injuries, Behrendorff has acquired education in sports science. “It’s nice to have a bit of knowledge about what’s going on so I can chat to the doctors and the physios and understand exactly what’s going on, what I need to do.”Behrendorff knows a thing or two about intense rehabiliation programmes. “The main thing is doing your rehab and getting back… and now enjoying playing international cricket for the first time. It’s something I have worked so hard for and I am loving every minute of it.”Back home it was an emotional time for his family. “It was a very special moment probably telling my wife first off was amazing. She was away at the time so we had to do it over the phone. She was very excited. The next best one was my dad. He’s never speechless, he’s an outgoing sort of guy but he was speechless on the phone for about 10 seconds.”The latest Aussie pacer may also be sought after in the lucrative Indian Premier League T20. “It might do. That’s down the track, I’ve got a fair bit of cricket to play yet so first and foremost focussed on winning the next game in Hyderabad and then got a summer of cricket to play but that would be very nice,” he concluded.advertisementlast_img read more