Ray LaHood: “We Are Not Gonna Be Dissuaded” on California High Speed Rail
Yesterday US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with Governor Jerry Brown in Oakland where they had a “long discussion” about the high speed rail project. San Francisco Chronicle reporter Michael Cabanatuan caught up with LaHood after the event, filing this story and, even better, shooting this video interview:
There’s a lot of support for high speed rail in California. We have made the largest investment in high speed rail money, more than $3 billion, which has been matched by other money from the state. There is a very, very strong support for high speed rail among the citizens of California. People are tired of being in congestion in California. People are looking for other modes of transportation. People in California are looking for high speed rail to come.
When high speed rail comes to California, it can be the model for the country, it really can be. It will be truly high speed, it’ll connect the state with rail service that doesn’t currently exist, it’ll be connected to transit systems, so people can get on their transit systems in their hometown and get on a high speed rail line.
I just had a very long meeting with the governor about high speed rail, and I answered a lot of his questions, and I believe that we are on a good track here in California for high speed rail.
We are not gonna be dissuaded by a little bit of background noise of criticism, because there’s a loud, loud amount of support for high speed rail in California.
Secretary LaHood’s support for the project, echoing that of his boss President Barack Obama, is crucial for the project’s survival. He has turned out to be one of the best appointees of the Obama Administration and his commitment to high speed rail is needed not just from a public perspective, but also in working with Governor Brown to ensure the project moves forward.
Obviously the meeting between LaHood and Brown is the real news here. It’s not clear what went down in that meeting, but LaHood would not have been as upbeat and confident as he was in the video had it not gone well. Governor Brown almost certainly grilled LaHood, but that’s just how he is – Brown knows the issues well and wants to ensure any obstacles are going to be resolved to his satisfaction.
With Brown and LaHood presumably on the same page, the future for high speed rail in California remains bright.