The anti-HSR organization known as Train Riders Association of California has never won a battle in its fight to stop the high speed rail project. Somehow, they still get op-eds in newspapers despite consistently losing. Thankfully the Sacramento Bee has given California High Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales a chance to respond to TRAC’s latest attacks on high speed rail:
It was the Legislature and voters who decided the route of the high-speed rail system; it’s not some nefarious strategy hatched by the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Contained within the voter-approved language in Proposition 1A is a specific stipulation that high-speed rail serve all the state’s major population areas, including Sacramento, Modesto, Fresno and Bakersfield – Central Valley cities that will play a vital role in California’s future.
And high-speed rail actually will help to reduce sprawl by inducing infill growth around stations and providing new transit-oriented growth to revitalize crumbling downtown areas.
Setty recommends using federal stimulus funds and cap-and-trade revenue to upgrade existing Amtrak corridors, but omits the fact that Amtrak operates over privately owned freight lines and that federal stimulus funds cannot be transferred from high-speed rail. He also disregards that voters specified service of up to 220 miles per hour, not the 110 mph that he advocates.
Basically, Setty and TRAC want the state to overturn the will of the voters as expressed by Prop 1A, which sets them on a collision course with other anti-HSR forces whose current strategy is to argue that the CHSRA is somehow violating the terms of Prop 1A. So which is it, anti-HSR folks? Do you love Prop 1A and insist it be upheld to the letter? Or do you hate Prop 1A and want the state to pretend it never happened?
TRAC’s vision for rail in California lacks popular and political support. Voters actually do want the project they approved in 2008, not TRAC’s slowed down, disconnected vision that lacks ambition.