Dan Richard Slams Anti-HSR Lawsuit Filers
Dan Richard has been a revelation as chair of the California High Speed Rail Authority board. He has consistently and effectively pushed back against critics of the HSR system, and his most recent effort is a classic example. In today’s San Jose Mercury News Richards slams Stuart Flashman and Michael Brady, two of the most litigious anti-HSR people in the state:
Along the way, these self-interested opponents have adopted high-minded rhetoric that they are they keepers of the faith for the ballot measure, wanting only to ensure that the system is built as intended. In fact, their actual motivation is more basic: “If you build it at all — and we’d rather you didn’t — build it in someone else’s backyard.”
Residents of Atherton and Kings County who oppose high-speed rail have had one consistent theme to their opposition: the rail line belongs somewhere else. With respect to the Bay Area, the litigation aims to avoid Atherton and Palo Alto, directing the train north over the Altamont Pass. In the Central Valley, the battle cry is that the train should be along Interstate 5.
Flashman, in an op-ed piece for another newspaper and disingenuously failing to identify himself as a plaintiff’s attorney, claimed the I-5 alignment was the right way to build high-speed rail. But Proposition 1A is clear that high-speed rail is intended to “connect the population centers of California,” specifically calling out Central Valley cities as well as San Jose.
If the plaintiffs had their way, Fresno, Bakersfield, Merced, and Palmdale would be left out, bypassing some of the fastest-growing areas of the state that also face major environmental and economic challenges. Their plan would also relegate San Jose to second-class service, splitting trains so that only a few served California’s third-largest city. Those trains would have to reverse course in the station, meaning longer trip times. Is that what the citizens of San Jose who backed Prop. 1A thought they’d get?
All of this is intended to keep the rail line far away from their clients’ backyards.
The whole thing is worth reading. It’s especially nice to see Richard point out strongly that the Peninsula NIMBY approach would screw San José, the state’s third largest city and a major economic hub.
As the HSR project builds new momentum, with billions of new funding in hand and having overcome recent legal obstacles, it’s important to use this moment to hammer the NIMBYs who have spent the last six years trying to stop California from addressing its climate, transportation, and energy needs.
Flashman and Brady are hypocrites who will not rest until the HSR project is destroyed. After six years, however, all they have to show for their efforts is a losing record. It’s taken longer than it should have, but California HSR is finally overcoming the obstacles these NIMBYs have thrown in its path.