When Will HSR Groundbreaking Begin? “Soon.”
California High Speed Rail Authority board chairman Dan Richard has told a Fresno TV station that the long-anticipated groundbreaking for the first part of the high speed rail project will begin “soon”:
Groundbreaking on the first segment of California’s high speed rail project is still scheduled to take place this summer.
At a meeting in Sacramento, the director of the high speed rail authority said the contract for construction on the line from Madera County to Fresno will be signed within days….
Authority Director Dan Richards says things are about to happen.
“We’re really on the verge of breaking ground our organization is just about to sign the contract with the contractor,” said Richards. “Right now it’s logistical issues more than anything else.”
Sometime in the next few weeks, the high speed rail project will finally put some steel in the ground. It’s been a long time coming, depending on how you count – 5 years since the passage of Prop 1A, 17 years since the Authority was created in 1996, 30 years since the Legislature foolishly killed the state’s first high speed rail plan after Governor Jerry Brown left office.
Groundbreaking is more than just a milestone, and more than just the actual commencement of construction. It’s also important politically and for the future of high speed rail in California. Once construction begins the project becomes something tangible. It’s been a “real” project since 1996, and especially since the 2008 statewide vote authorizing bond sales. But for most people once something is actually being built, it becomes something that is real, that is actually happening. In turn, that tends to make complaints about the concept go away and gets more people invested in ensuring a project is brought to completion.
The start of construction won’t solve HSR’s problems in Congress, where Tea Party Republicans remain ideologically opposed to it even when (especially when?) it would benefit their constituents. But it can help solidify and expand support in California, and that may well be more important in the long run. For the sake of this country’s future, the Tea Party needs to lose power in Congress. It’s not just HSR that is suffering. But the longer they continue to control the House, the more important it will be for California HSR supporters to look at ways to complete the project that don’t require federal funding.