Trains Are Not the Silver Bullet

A Successful Rail System in L.A. Has to Help People to Get to Work, Complement Existing Bus Routes, and Serve 1,000,000 Riders a Day.

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Trains and rail are inseparable from California’s past. When Leland Stanford hammered “The Golden Spike” in an 1869 ceremony in Utah, he united the first transcontinental railway in the U.S.—and tied California to the rest of the country. That connection between the two coasts set the state on a path to becoming the economic and cultural force it is now.

In the 21st century, California, and Southern California in particular, is once again poised to be reshaped by trains and rail lines. Public investment—from the $68 billion marked to establish a …

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