State Still Wants its Bullet Train – Streetsblog San Francisco
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The Los Angeles Times attacks California’s High-speed Rail project incessantly. The train builders have had problems acquiring land and are now caught in a game of political chess with President Trump. Costs have risen. Misinformation abounds amidst legitimate criticisms.
And yet, despite having huge resources on their side, opponents of the train have failed again to get enough signatures to get a measure on the ballot to de-fund the project. “The measure, endorsed by former San Diego City Council Member Carl DeMaio, did not get the nearly 585,000 signatures needed by the May 28th deadline,” reported KUSI news in San Diego.
You’d think, in a state with 40 million people, this would be a pretty low bar to clear if the project is really as reviled as some newspapers would have us believe.
Streetsblog readers will recall it was late last year that DeMaio’s proposition, which “Terminates funding for state’s high-speed rail project” was cleared by the Secretary of State to begin collecting signatures. DeMaio and his allies had until May 28 to gather signatures from eight percent of the total votes cast for Governor in the November 2014 general election (thus, the 585,000 figure) in order to qualify it for the ballot.
Apparently, despite all the smearing, it’s not possible to convince significant numbers of people in California that continuing to widen highways and add airport capacity is still the way to go, given how badly it’s failed over the years. Moreover, air fares to Europe and Asia are now in reach of most people–and plenty of them have experienced first hand how easy it is to get from A to B in other countries, thanks to High-speed Rail.
Home to nearly 3 million people, the Central Valley certainly isn’t “nowhere.” #CAHSRA Board Chair Lenny Mendonca has a personal connection to the valley and says it’s insulting to dismiss the importance of the region. #BuildHSR #Iwillride #Californiaforall pic.twitter.com/YejqSrVT8b
— CA High-Speed Rail (@CaHSRA) June 10, 2019
Meanwhile, as reported by the Associated Press, the State of California is now suing the Trump Administration to get it to deliver on $1 billion in allotted funds. The money’s being withheld with the blessing of California’s own Republican congressional delegation. The funds aren’t needed for another two years, however, so, in the meantime, the project continues.