Dan Richard Fires Back At Dan Walters
On Friday the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Walters, a longtime opponent of high speed rail, claimed that the California High Speed Rail Authority’s decision to challenge its critics in court was a “test of political integrity” for Governor Jerry Brown, insinuating that the actions being taken in support of the HSR project lacked such integrity. It was a flawed attack, and one I hadn’t been able to get to here on the blog.
No matter, since CHSRA board chairman Dan Richard has fired back at Walters in the pages of today’s Bee. The whole column is worth reading, so I’ll only just excerpt a few key points:
Once-critical impartial observers, like the Legislative Peer Review Group and the California State Auditor, now commend our approach and progress. Even when congressional critics thought they could embarrass or impede the project by asking the Government Accountability Office for an audit, the finding instead was that our ridership and cost projections were sound.
These are crucial points to make, ones that the media routinely miss. Impartial observers continue to commend the CHSRA for its work and find that its ridership and cost projections are legitimate and defensible. That apparently doesn’t stop some in the media from continuing to question those projections despite not having any basis from which to do so. But it’s important to keep in mind that the project is moving forward on the basis of impartial reviews that indicate the CHSRA is acting with integrity.
Richard also calls out some project critics for their hypocrisy:
While we have taken legitimate criticism seriously, some opponents are clearly self-serving. For example, one small but influential group begged an obscure federal agency to take jurisdiction over the project and halt it; they got an answer they didn’t like – yes, the agency has jurisdiction, but it fully supports the project. What’s most galling are those who proclaim loudly that we must meet the standards of the bond act (and we are), but in the next breath seek to push the project onto a different route that is demonstrably inconsistent with the ballot measure’s requirements to serve certain major cities.
Richard won’t say it, but I will: if there’s any lack of integrity when it comes to high speed rail, it’s not on the side of the supporters, but on the side of at least a few of the critics. They have consistently failed to make a case against the project that holds merit, so they keep moving the goal posts while also trying every political and legal trick available to them to kill the project.
The fine folks at the CHSRA, as well as in the Governor’s office, are doing great work persisting in building this project – with integrity – even as they have to constantly fight off ridiculous, baseless, wasteful attacks from people who will never accept the necessity, proven benefits, or public support of high speed rail.