San Francisco Chronicle: “HSR must go forward”
Once again we’re seeing that in the wake of Judge Michael Kenny’s unfavorable ruling for the high speed rail project, longtime institutional supporters are still backing the HSR project. This time it’s the San Francisco Chronicle editorializing that the project must go forward:
But the decision doesn’t cancel the entire project nor does it stop construction due to begin next year on a 30-mile, first stretch of track between Madera and Fresno in the Central Valley, paid with federal money….
California’s plan – now wobbling from the judge’s ruling and slumping public support – must be revived if bullet trains have a future in this country….
Some critics are determined to send the project back for another statewide vote, noting that it has changed in some respects, such as adjusting the Peninsula stretch to use Caltrain tracks. But it would be a mistake to start over – any plan of this magnitude is going to require adaptation….
A project this enormous was never going to be easy to build. The cost and planning concerns must be answered – the judge’s concerns are legitimate – but there is no escaping the future problems of air and road traffic, pollution and geographic inequities this system will help alleviate.
High-speed rail must go forward, judiciously and expeditiously.
Obviously I agree with this. The Chronicle understands the underlying reasons for HSR remain strong and compelling, so we have to figure out how to get this right rather than how to abandon it and just let our economy shrink due to oil dependence and global warming impacts.
There is increasing consensus that something has to be done about the financing plan – not because the critics are right, but because the situation in Congress is hopeless, at least until the Tea Party is tossed from power. This is a very positive sign, because it means there will be support from editorial boards, advocacy groups, and other key stakeholders for the new funding sources that will be required to replace the lost federal contribution.