Don’t Misread Republicans: They Hate Rail, Not Just HSR
There’s a belief some credulous sources have that when California Congressional Republicans got the Trump Administration to screw Caltrain electrification that this was really an attack on high speed rail, with Caltrain as some sort of collateral damage.
That’s not true, as we’ll see in a moment. But that is the story the anti-HSR folks at the East Bay Times would have you believe:
Congressional Republicans want a full-scale audit of California’s high-speed rail because the federal government has $3.5 billion invested in the project. Unfortunately, they’ve lumped in the Caltrain project because it receives money from state high-speed rail funds.
The editorialists support Caltrain electrification, and are trying to salvage something from this mess. The way they do it is to argue that HSR is bad, Caltrain electrification is good, that the California Congressional Republicans just want an audit of HSR, and will help Caltrain electrify once they get their simple, innocuous audit.
Unfortunately for them, one of the Republicans who went to Trump and asked him and his administration to block the FTA grant, made it very clear tonight that they hate Caltrain too:
— Carla Marinucci (@cmarinucci) February 26, 2017
I don’t know what else it’s going to take for people to accept that Congressional Republicans hate passenger rail in and of itself. This belief that somehow they’re just a bunch of well-meaning anti-waste crusaders who have a legitimate beef with HSR is a delusion that is now causing wider damage to other vital transportation projects in California.
Devin Nunes is spelling it out for us in very clear terms: if California wants more passenger rail, California is going to have to pay for it by itself. With a GDP of $2.5 trillion, that shouldn’t be difficult. But it does require finally undoing the damage done by the tax revolt, Prop 13, and beyond.
If California Democrats are serious about resisting Trump – and I believe they are – then they have to get on this immediately and take the steps necessary to fund these crucial passenger rail projects without relying on the federal government.