President Obama Proposes $5 Billion A Year for HSR
In his 2015 fiscal year budget President Barack Obama has proposed spending $5 billion a year on high speed rail projects:
In addition, the White House would like to set aside $19 billion specifically for rail programs. “The proposal also includes nearly $5 of billion annually for high performance and passenger rail programs,” the White House fact sheet reads, “with a focus on improving the connections between key regional city pairs and high traffic corridors throughout the country.”
This is the HSR section, which isn’t called out by name (probably because Obama-era Democrats tend to cower in the face of Republican attacks). But it is still important to note that the president and Congressional Democrats still want to dedicate significant ongoing funds to high speed rail development. This funding, of which California would easily receive $1-$2 billion a year, would be enough over time to build the Initial Operating Segment of the California HSR line, likely from Merced to Los Angeles.
Unfortunately there is little chance this proposal will pass, thanks to hardcore ideological opposition from Republicans. They will oppose not only Obama’s plans for more HSR money but also his proposals to increase money for other forms of mass transit, including light rail and bus rapid transit, and his proposals to double the annual TIGER grant funding pool.
But this is a good reminder that the only reason why California HSR faces financial questions is because of Republicans in Congress. That’s all. If they lose their House majority, California HSR will be properly funded. It’s really that simple.