I noted in my last post that the CalHSR’s proposal was to construct from Fresno to Corcoran. Corcoran has a population of about 26,000 people, but I forgot to point out that about half of those residents are guests of the state of California, and thus unlikely to ride the HSR: prisoners in the two penitentiaries. One of the largest industries in Corcoran is corrections, and it is home to the California State Prison and the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison.
(If you value your sanity, don’t do the math on providing HSR to a place with 26,000 people, 13,000 of whom are not actually supposed to leave, ever. Conceivably, the station would also draw riders from the Madera region, which has about 150,000 people, which is still too few people to justify a station. )
Given that the new narrative around HSR is that it will prompt economic development in the Central Valley, these population figures rather got me thinking: it would probably be cheaper to send every man, woman, and child in Fresno, Madera, and Corcoran (not including prisoners) a check for $5K than it will be to build the HSR there. For a family of four, that’s $20K. If I were them, I’d hold out for that.