Diane Harkey’s Anti-HSR Bill Killed by Assembly
This news should come as no surprise – a bill by Assemblymember Diane Harkey to defund the high speed rail project died in the Assembly this week:
The California Assembly Transportation Committee has rejected a proposal by an Orange County Republican that would have blocked much of the planned state debt financing for the high-speed rail project.
The action clears the tracks for the California High-Speed Rail Authority to go to the bond market looking for the money to build the first 120 miles of track. That segment would be in the Central Valley, stretching from southern Madera County to northern Kern County.
Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal led the charge against Harkey’s bill:
Long Beach Democrat Bonnie Lowenthal, who chairs the transportation committee, told Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, who sponsored the bill, that she would vote against the bill.
“I think you and I are going to disagree about the merits of high speed rail because I believe there is a possible success story out there,” Lowenthal said. “So for that reason I am going to oppose your bill.”
Harkey, who made headlines last week for her ridiculous and offensive claim that HSR was “cultural genocide”, went on to make some more bizarre comments:
“What are the risks of the project? We don’t even know,” Harkey said. “It could be 66- to- 100-billion dollars and that’s without the train sets and without the operating expenses.”
Harkey is simply making up numbers here, and deliberately ignoring the fact that HSR systems around the world and in the US normally run operating surpluses. But she is running for the Board of Equalization in 2014, so presumably she is trying to curry favor with the oil companies and Koch Brothers who control the fates of most Republican elected officials these days. So we can expect to see more anti-HSR nonsense from her – it keeps the campaign contributions flowing.