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Better Like High-Speed Rail If You're Headed to Big LA High-Speed Conference Next Month*

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Next month, the US High Speed Rail Association will hold a two-day conference in Los Angeles to talk about all things related to high-speed rail. Here's the web site. But if you're a blogger or a reporter, know this: If you ask for a press pass, the US High Speed Rail Association may quiz you about your attitudes on high-speed rail. You may also be asked to explain what solutions you have for the country's energy crisis. Better bone up, media! But we won't be going to the conference. After the jump, you'll see why. What follows is an email exchange with Andy Kunz, President and CEO of the US High Speed Rail Association, a Washington, DC-based non-profit that was founded last year to "promote a state-of-the-art national high speed rail system throughout the country," according to a press release. It has no relation or connection to the California High Speed Rail Authority, a state agency.

Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 09:40 PM
To: press@ushsr.com
Subject: high-speed rail

Hi: I am inquiring whether its possible to cover the high-speed rail press conference next month in LA.

I'm the editor of a LA-based news site that has been following the rail line in California.

Here's an example of a recent story I did on high-speed rail around LA.

http://la.curbed.com/archives/2010/05/_two_weeks_city_councilman.php

Please let me know if it would be possible to attend the conference.

Best,
Dakota

--

Re: high-speed rail

Hi Dakota:

We are having a full 2-day HSR conference, not a 'press conference' as you referred to it. We are happy to have you cover it, but I just did a quick review of your article and the Curbed website and detect a lot of negative attitude towards the Ca HSR project. Can you explain this, and your site's general attitude towards HSR, and the Ca project. For example the statement in your article: "A rep for the High-Speed Rail Authority says that this segment of the line could see early service by 2018. If this whole crazy high-speed rail actually gets built, that is."

We are an independent, pro-HSR association, and are working hard to save America from the coming energy/oil crisis, which HSR is really the only solution.

There is no other way we are going to move 300+ million Americans into the future with continued prosperity and mobility... so we see this as an urgent project to keep America a leading nation. Before we give you a free pass to our conference we want to know where you and your organization stand on HSR and what solutions you propose for our coming huge energy crisis.

Kind regards,

Andy Kunz
President & CEO
US High Speed Rail Association
10 G St. NE, Suite 710
Washington, DC 20002

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Our coverage is neutral. Sorry you read into it that it was negative.

I will pass on attending the event.

Best,
Dakota

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Dakota,

I would say your analysis of the potential routes is excellent, and is good to have. We do need neutral, critical analysis of this project and all the others. I would say the comment I highlighted in yellow is hardly neutral.

Regards,

Andy Kunz
President & CEO
US High Speed Rail Association
10 G St. NE, Suite 710
Washington, DC 20002

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Again, it wasn't meant as negative. Again, I apologize if it came off as it was negative. It was not my intention.

Best,
Dakota

-------------------


Dakota,

I would definitely like to engage you in a discussion about HSR... bigger picture, and have you at the conference. Your analysis of routes is needed and important, but bigger picture America is really in big trouble with our enormous oil consumption (20 million barrels per day - 70% of which goes directly to transportation) and this country was built on cheap, plentiful oil, which is now coming to an end - both the cheap part and the plentiful part. So we face a real crisis and building this HSR system is really the only viable solution to this huge impending problem. We all have to pull together as a nation, and as a global society to solve this problem quickly. There are other huge problems as well such as climate change, and our economic situation, but energy supply and security is the utmost critical situation we have to solve quickly. America only has about a 30 day supply of oil in the strategic petroleum reserves when its full... so a slight disruption in supply will quickly translate into shortages around the country, which will immediately lead to food shortages, chaos, riots, etc... not the picture any of us want to see.

A recent statement says it all:

"The U.S. Joint Forces Command, under U.S. Marine General J.N. Mattis, issued a report earlier this year stating that oil demand could outpace supply as early as 2015. The potentially devastating consequences for our economy, transportation system and national security require an urgent and important investment high speed trains, which can be nine times more energy-efficient than cars or planes, advocates argued."
High speed rail not only has enormous capacity to move large numbers of people and light freight quickly and efficiently, but it can also be powered by renewable energy as we scale that up. So this really will solve our impending problems. Ignoring them or pretending they don't exist won't make them go away. We saw the taste of rapidly rising oil prices the summer of 2008, and that situation has not gone away... it drove us into this recession and will continue to drive us into more of them until we drastically reduce our oil consumption as a nation.

This is why we are doing what we do, and we'd love to get you involved... because we need everyone in on this and helping out!

Andy Kunz
President & CEO
US High Speed Rail Association
10 G St. NE, Suite 710
Washington, DC 20002

We realize by publishing this email exchange, we're not playing by the rules. But neither is this organization.

UPDATE*:Spat resolved. Curbed and Kunz have hashed things out via a phone call. We'll be attending the conference.

· Los Angeles High Speed Conference 2010 [Official Site]