Imagine that … A former Indianapolis 500 professional racecar driver manually drove a Tesla Model X in an approximately 1.14 mile tunnel with zero traffic and no traffic lights and reached a top speed of 53 miles per hour. The trip through Elon Musk’s tunnel took 2 minutes which is an average speed of approximately 30 miles per hour. Whoop-de-do!
What was promised was an autonomous self-driving vehicle traveling at speeds up to 150 miles per hour. And, of course, the excuse was this is a prototype and used for testing the tunneling technology, not the actual end-to-end process which will require massive government subsidies, government bond sales, property usage rights and acquisitions, never-ending environmental and engineering reports, mufti-jurisdictional permits, and unionized workers. So why blow this test run into a full-blown media event?
Because that is Musk’s nature – to juggle balls, companies, and financing – while publicizing the hell out of himself and his projects. He is not so much a visionary as a financial genius able to think big and create a reality distortion field somewhat similar to the late Steve Jobs at Apple.
I am not writing this to rag-on Musk, but to point to the similarity of Musk’s project to California Governor Jerry Brown’s high-speed, medium-speed, not-so-fast train to nowhere. Which requires the same amount of governmental interference and infrastructure.
These projects will never pay for themselves and will decay over time like our aging freeways. And, truth-be-told, the distance has to be sufficient and the time-savings significantly important to make a difference in consumer behavior. Unfortunately, under the progressive socialist democrats that means authoritarian mandates, restrictions on older technology, or their old-standby” incentivize the desired behavior by taxing the bejesus out of the less desirable behavior. The hell with the U.S. Constitutions and its guarantees of freedom.
I am reminded of Rory Sutherland, the Vice Chairman of Ogilvy in the UK, and co-founder of the ad agency’s behavioral science practice. One of his most iconic stories is about train travel in Europe.
There is this train, which goes from London to Paris.
The question was given to a bunch of engineers about 15 years ago. How do we make the journey to Paris better?
And they came up with a very good engineering solution, which was to spend 6 billion pounds building completely new tracks from London to the coast and knocking about 40 minutes off a three and a half hour journey time.
Now, call me Mr. Picky. I'm just an ad man. But it strikes me as an unimaginative way of improving a train journey merely to make it shorter. Now, what is the hedonic opportunity cost of spending 6 billion pounds on those railway tracks?
Here's my naive advertising man suggestion. What you should in fact do is employ all the world's top male and female supermodels, pay them to walk the length of the train handing out free Chateau Petrus for the entire duration of the journey.
You'll still have about 3 billion pounds left in change and people will ask for the trains to be slowed down.
I mean, my more serious suggestion, by the way, was that they simply spend, perhaps, not quite 1 percent of that money installing Wi-Fi on the train.
So, you know, it is interesting that, you know, one technology [wi-fi] should sensibly change the metrics [perceived time and discomfort] by altering another technology [rail transportation].
Given the security considerations of flying: check-in time, the continual shrinking of leg-room, and the add-on costs for luggage and amenities, train travel started to look better. Now that security is being imposed on trains, how long will it be before train travel becomes a hassle. And, you can imagine that cars going through tunnels will eventually be searched and any time advantage erased? The very police state envisioned by the progressive socialist democrats in which to implement their new socialist vision.
Not to mention routine maintenance which can see certain destinations closed for significant periods of time. Or, heaven forbid, the type of transit workers’ strike that periodically cripples New York until the commuters and taxpayers give in to extortion.
As someone who commutes using California Freeways (5, 405, 101, 118, 126, 23) I am no fan of traffic. But there are other solutions to the traffic nightmare imposed on Californian’s by the progressive socialist democrats who want to turn California into New York – central high-rise living, mass transit, and of course, easily manipulated disarmed citizens who will follow instructions. Ask yourself where the billions that were earmarked for repair, replacement, and build-out of our freeway system have gone? Why is their a state IOU in the cashbox? How can we afford a trillion dollar train to nowhere while our electric, water, and gas distribution systems languish. Reducing the use of fossil fuels to reduce pollution is an admirable goal – but it will not affect the planet’s climate over long time periods. Want to make a difference? Go nuclear and ignore the communist-infiltrated anti-nuke peaceniks.
If someone needs to commute a fair distance in order to afford housing, the solution is more affordable housing nearer to employment opportunities. California is not New York or the East Coast where many people simply do not drive – and garage their vehicles blocks from the home. Even better, telecommuting centers with large-screen meeting video displays.
It does not matter whether it is a tunnel or a train track, California is a seismically active area that could turn these billion-dollar investments into rubble in seconds. And, until you can provide better and safer engineering, I think I will pass. Use our tax money to repair, replace, and build-out useful infrastructure instead of importing low-productivity illegal aliens with their illiteracy, poverty, disease, and crime.
We are so screwed.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell