Don’t Let the State Senate Kill High Speed Rail
It’s organizing time. The legislature is taking up the governor’s request to release the voter-approved high speed rail bond money in order to match $3.3 billion in federal stimulus money and create jobs. HSR supporters need to let legislators know you expect them to do the right thing and release the funds. You can start at StandUpForTrains.org:
We are truly at a make it or break it moment for high-speed rail in California and in America. The California Legislature must decide by July 1st to release Proposition 1A high-speed rail bond funds to match $3.3 billion in federal grants.
If you live in California, it is critcal that you call your representative and senator to urge them to move forward without delay.
If you don’t live in California, please ask your California friends to make the call.
High-speed rail remains a top priority for a broad and diverse set of leaders and stakeholders all around California, including business, labor, transportation and livability advocates, who agree that we cannot delay getting started.
High-speed rail will help the economy and the state budget now because of massive job creation. Quality middle-class jobs will better the lives of thousands of families and improve the economy now and the tax revenues generated by new jobs will help bolster California’s finances.
Long-term, high-speed rail provides a foundation for ongoing economic prosperity because it provides a solution to our overtaxed transportation system and will free us from volatile fuel costs, helping businesses and individuals prosper.
California legislators need to know that there is broad support. It is critical that supporters call their representatives and senators urging them to move forward without delay.
Here’s what happens if they vote YES:
- Construction begins in the Central Valley on the nation’s first dedicated high-speed line.
- Caltrain, the San Jose – San Francisco commuter line, gets electrified by 2018.
- ACE commuter rail and Amtrak’s San Joaquin and Capitol Corridors get upgraded with new coordinated service.
- Metrolink’s Antelope Valley and San Bernardino lines get upgraded.
- The stage will be set to close the missing link between Bakersfield and Los Angeles.
Senator Alan Lowenthal is pushing ahead with his misleadingly-named “Plan B” for HSR, which involves his long-held dream of stealing all the bond money that was intended for bullet trains connecting SF to LA for other, slower, local rail service. The Obama Administration has made it absolutely clear that they will not allow the federal stimulus funds to be moved out of the Central Valley. Lowenthal’s proposal, then, means the death of the California HSR project and the loss of billions in desperately needed stimulus funds and the jobs they would produce.
Sure, Lowenthal and his allies might argue that the Obama Administration would flip-flop and agree to move the funds out of the Valley. But the White House stood firm when Tea Party governors in Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida wanted to move their HSR stimulus funds to other uses, refusing their requests and moving that money to other states, including California. They won’t give in to Tea Party Democrats like Lowenthal on this.
So make your voice heard. Send an email to your legislators, or better yet call their offices and let them know you want the California high speed rail to move forward as currently planned, without delay!