Mayors of LA, SF, San Jose, Sacramento and Fresno Urge Legislature to Fund HSR
In a powerful op-ed in today’s Sacramento Bee, the mayors of some of California’s largest cities – Los Angeles, San Francisco, San José, Sacramento and Fresno called on the Legislature to fund high speed rail in 2012:
We are all strong supporters of building the California High-Speed Rail system, and our state has arrived at a critical juncture. In the weeks ahead, state legislators will be asked to release $2.7 billion in previously approved state bond funds to begin construction of the first section of high-speed rail in the United States. Our long-term economic and environmental future requires an alternative to simply adding more highways and airport runways. We need a sustainable, modern way of moving people up and down the state that doesn’t rely on gasoline and concrete.
The op-ed, co-authored by LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, SF mayor Ed Lee, San José mayor Chuck Reed, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, and Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, cites the project’s ability to create much-needed jobs and its impact on environmental sustainability as some of the reasons to move forward now.
It is time to break ground on this investment in our state’s infrastructure. This ambitious project will usher in a new modern rail service in California that better connects us, provides faster service, operates more efficiently, has quieter trains and fewer emissions – all while bringing economic development and good jobs to the residents of California.
Let’s move California forward full steam ahead and start building our nation’s first high-speed rail system.
This makes a great deal of sense. Will the Legislature listen? We know the State Assembly will. The State Senate is less certain.
The question before the California State Senate is this: will smaller towns like Palo Alto be able to stop a project that the state’s major cities, the economic engines of California, desperately want and support? It wouldn’t make sense if Joe Simitian, a legislator about to be termed out, is able to block this project. That would be the tail wagging the dog.
California’s largest cities have spoken: build the train now. There’s no good reason why the State Senate should stand in their way.