The average legislative testimony is a real snoozer but I came across the most amazing video of testimony before a legislative committee by a high speed rail ADVOCATE, Joe Vranich in 2008. Start to finish his testimony is only about 6 minutes long (which is amazing in itself) but he pulls absolutely no punches in saying the HSR analysis and the commission in CA is totally and completely fouled-up-beyond-all-recognition. Honestly, even if you don't care one way or another about HSR, it is worth watching just for it's no-holds-barred fresh energy.
On a slightly more sedate note, you can see State Senator Joe Simitian give his reasons for not voting for the HSR bill. Again, he's an advocate and isn't quite as forceful as Mr. Vranich but he goes into more detail. If you have any interest in how politics works and what happened to HSR it is well worth the watch:
FWIW, I favor HSR in places where it makes economic sense, but California is very clearly NOT one of those places. People talk of other country's HSR (like Japan) but in Japan it is very expensive and so is used only by business and the well-off (and tourists with a rail-pass). It works fine but it has never made money so you have the absurd situation of 95% of the country subsidizing a HSR used by the upper 5% of the country. Even a lot of business travelers don't feel like paying for it and send their people on buses and regular rail (as I observed when my rail pass expired). HSR is also a money loser in Spain. I think it makes money in a very heavily populated part of Germany. Let's not get into China where economic data are filed under "Fantasy and Science Fiction"
- Michael Goldman