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California Senate Narrowly Approves Rail Project

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http://www.nytimes.c...oject.html?_r=1

 

July 6, 2012

 

Lawmakers Vote to Move Ahead With California Rail Link

 

 

By ADAM NAGOURNEY

 

 

LOS ANGELES — Despite deepening doubts about the cost and feasibility of a $70 billion high-speed rail proposed to cross California, the State Senate on Friday narrowly approved legislation to spend $8 billion in federal and state money to begin construction, starting with a 130-mile stretch through the rural Central Valley.

The vote came as the federal government threatened to withdraw $3.3 billion in financing for the 520-mile project if the Legislature did not approve the release of state bond money to begin construction. Democrats and Republicans expressed fear that the project could be remembered as a boondoggle passed when the state is struggling through a fiscal crisis.

Polls suggests that voters have turned against the project after voting for it in 2008. Several Democrats, in arguing against the expenditure, warned that voters would be less likely to approve a tax package on the ballot this fall that Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, said was necessary to avoid more cuts in spending on education and other programs.

The vote was a major victory for Mr. Brown, who had strongly urged lawmakers to approve the project, which eventually would link San Francisco to Los Angeles. He described it in keeping with the state’s tradition of grand projects and said it would pump money into the ailing economy. It was passed in the Senate with 21 votes, one more than was needed. The Assembly passed the measure on Thursday.

“How many chances do we have to vote for something this important and long-lasting?” said Darrell Steinberg, the Democratic president pro tem of the Senate.

Opposition cut across party lines. Speaker after speaker noted there was no source of revenue for the train line beyond the initial $8 billion, and that it was being built in rural California, far from where the bulk of the state’s population lived. Several noted the incongruity of embarking on such a major project weeks after passing a budget that included deep cuts in spending on schools and other programs.

“This is a colossal fiscal train wreck for California,” said Senator Tony Strickland, a Republican. “Members, this bill is spending money we simply don’t have here in California.”

Mr. Brown heralded the vote, saying, “The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts California out in front once again.”

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Dumb move. The state is already broke, this expensive measure will just push the state over the cliff faster. They can tax all the rich people all they want, but once they get fed up with the taxes and leave, the middle class and poor will be stuck with the bag.

Edited by Grand Concourse
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Yeah where are they gonna go Grandconcourse to some throwback midwest state? Californa's rich arent going anywhere.

Edited by kentsfield

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its an ambitious project but the timeline is too slow, its too bad they cant build it faster, we got a lot more things done in much quicker time in the decades past. It could work, especially if development is encouraged in those rural areas by the train line

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Yeah where are they gonna go Grandconcourse to some throwback midwest state? Californa's rich arent going anywhere.

 

If taxes becomes like 60-70% of their income, it might come down to it. Basically taxing people to death will only go so far. And who said midwest? There's always the east coast.

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Dumb move. The state is already broke, this expensive measure will just push the state over the cliff faster. They can tax all the rich people all they want, but once they get fed up with the taxes and leave, the middle class and poor will be stuck with the bag.

 

 

Agree. This is a huge gamble. If anything IMO HSR should been created in the NE Coordior first ie. Amtrak's DC-NYC-Boston line. Or at least bulid a HSR between LA and San Diego 1st which much have been cheaper and much quicker to bulid. The Bay area and LA is a long trip even with HSR still is a 6-8 hour trip which the poential ridership wont not be as much as say a LA-SD HSR.

The I-5 and I-15 freeways are parking lots as thousands travel for work every weekday between LA area and SD.

 

In Calif. they needed to upgrade *local* mass transit first and freeways 1st, a Direct subway/light rail between Downtown LA and LAX Airport.

Plus private investors should picked up more of the cost of this planned LA-SF HSR.

While a SF-LA HSR regional line is needed, not sure it's that urgent right now compared to beefing up, local mass transit in the huge LA, SF Bay area and San Diego areas with expanding thier light rail/trolley.

 

I visit SD 1-2 weeks a year and my family is out there, so i know about the issue.

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Problem with HSR from Boston to NY is you'd have to straiten out all the curves in between. I think I remember a fact stating that if all the curves were removed, you could build about 10 loops. Thus the tilting trains were needed.

Edited by Grand Concourse

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