Tuesday, October 01, 2013

High-speed rail: The end is near



According to a recent public opinion poll, as reported in the LA Times---but not reported here in San Francisco, except on NBC Bay Area---most Californians still oppose the high-speed rail project, and 70% want it put back on the ballot:

Nowhere is the project more controversial than in the Central Valley, where farmers, businessmen and homeowners have formed coalitions to overhaul or derail it. Even though Gov. Jerry Brown touts the benefits to the Central Valley, 59% of voters there want to call it off, according to the poll. Opposition is even stronger in the Northern California counties, where 61% say it should be killed. "The best thing for Brown is to have one of the lawsuits stop the project until he leaves office," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.
 
Schnur is right. If/when Judge Kenny kills the high-speed rail project next month, he'll be doing Governor Brown a favor. Maybe that's why the SF Chronicle "corrected" the hard copy of Sunday's front-page story on Governor Brown ("This article has been corrected since it appeared in print editions"), eliminating high-speed rail as his "pet issue."
 
Some progressives still haven't heard the bad news. Bill Maher on the Huffington Post:
 
It wasn't that long ago that pundits were calling California a failed state and saying it was ungovernable. But in 2010, when other states were busy electing whatever Tea Partier claimed to hate government the most, we elected a guy who actually liked it, Jerry Brown. Since then, everything Republicans say can't or won't work---gun control, immigration reform, high-speed rail---California is making work. And everything conservatives claim will unravel the fabric of our society---universal healthcare, higher taxes on the rich, gay marriage, medical marijuana---has only made California stronger.
 
I agree on everything in Maher's list except high-speed rail, which can't and won't work---and will probably be ruled illegal by Judge Kenny later this year.
 
You can follow the issue with Kathy Hamilton's coverage.
 
Links to the legal documents at TRANSDEF.

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