Saturday, July 07, 2012

High-speed rail: Green light for red ink

Diversity in action: straight and gay united in stupidity!
Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press / SF

Watching the State Senate "debate" high-speed rail yesterday was not an inspiring experience. Our State Senators both voted for this unwise, poorly-conceived project. Leno was point man for the Democrats, reading the party line arguments from the High-Speed Rail Authority about "blended systems" and "improvements" in the LA and SF "bookends," including $61 million for the Central Subway boondoggle. Spread the pork around was the successful strategy for supporters of this dumb project.

The Chinese Yee and the gay Leno voted to authorize $4.6 billion in state bonds. Diversity in action! Gays, people of color, and straights united in stupidity! 

Servicing those bonds will cost state taxpayers around $300 million a year even as the state is cutting aid to education, closing state parks, and shredding the safety net for the poor. 

Now that the governor and the legislature have failed to protect the interests of the people of California, the high-speed rail struggle will move to the courts, where the project is facing several lawsuits, including in the Central Valley, where, not surprisingly, farmers are opposed to having their profitable land torn apart by train tracks. There's also opposition on the Peninsula, where towns and individual property owners will have to be convinced that having a high-speed rail system tearing through their highly-developed area is a good idea.

And there's the freight railroad, Union Pacific, which told the state two years ago that "no part of the high-speed corridor may be located on UP's right of way."

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