Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Jim Costa: "Godfather" of high-speed rail losing re-election

It's still in some doubt, but Congressman Costa is now hoping that the count of mail-in and provisional ballots will win the election for him. 

The Wall Street Journal in 2012:

The project's godfather is Democratic Congressman Jim Costa, who as a state senator in the 1990s wrote legislation creating California's High-Speed Rail Authority and helped plan the 500-mile route between San Francisco and Anaheim. Before being elected to Congress (in 2004), he also authored a $10 billion state bond initiative to finance the project. Lawmakers in Sacramento postponed that initiative until 2008, fearing that California's recurring budget crises would make it a hard sell. But sell it they did. The rail authority promised voters that the train wouldn't require a subsidy and that the feds and private sector would pick up most of the $33 billion tab. Expecting a free ride, voters leapt on board and approved the initiative in November 2008. Not long afterward, the authority raised the price to $43 billion.

Recall that one of the first federal pork payments to the state for high-speed rail went to the Central Valley in 2010 to help re-elect Costa:

The federal government’s most recent $900 million grant to the California High-Speed Rail Authority came with a string attached: most of the money had to be spent, not in Los Angeles or San Francisco where most potential rail patrons are located, but in the central valley. Handed out just before the election, the grant was a blatant attempt to help the re-election effort of U.S. Representative Jim Costa. It might have made a difference, for despite the fact that Costa’s district leans heavily Democrat, he won over an unknown Republican candidate by a mere 3,000 votes.

Streetsblog thought that was terrific.

Costa's opponent made high-speed rail an issue:

The Secretary of State's close contests site.

The letter below shows that not all California members of Congress support this boondoggle. The California High Speed Rail Authority is trying to get the federal Surface Transportation Board to rule that federal law pre-empts state law and CEQA on the project.

See also Union Pacific's letter to the Surface Transportation Board warning that it still opposes allowing the high-speed rail to use its track in its proposed "blended" system with Caltrain. This is not a new stand by Union Pacific, since it sent a warning letter to the High Speed Rail Authority more than four years ago.



At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another fact free headline

: #CA16 Rep. Jim Costa (D) takes lead over GOP challenger Johnny Tacherra. Fresno County votes push Costa ahead

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Sorry to hear it, even though I'm a Democrat. But the head was accurate when written, since Costa was behind then.

Costa deserves to lose, but at the very least this campaign shows that the high-speed rail project isn't popular in the Valley.

At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does Costa's re-election by the majority in a Republican wave election show that HSR is unpopular?

Is that the same math that says that since 37 percent voted for Prop L that the citizens are rejecting the anti-car policies of City Hall?

At 9:57 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Costa hasn't been elected. He leads by only 86 votes with several thousand ballots to be counted.

He's in danger of losing in an election where high-speed rail was an important issue raised by his opponent. Got it?

I of course never claimed that the Prop. L vote showed that "citizens are rejecting the anti-car policies of City Hall." I said that the total number of votes for Prop. L---now more than 79,000---was a good base for the continuing opposition to those policies.

At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So you guys are going to go out and get 39 percent next time?

The Prop L vote showed that citizens are EMBRACING the anti-car policies of City Hall. And given that the average age of those voting for prop L was 62, and those voting against it was 31, it's only going to get worse for your ilk.

At 10:12 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Like to see some evidence for the voting age claim.


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