All posts by daveslifka

Mr. Freeze Ices High Speed Rail

(Love the down-payment angle as Arnold tries to sell off future revenue sources. – promoted by Lucas O’Connor)

I recently wrote to Governor Schwarzenegger regarding the California High Speed Rail(HSR) initiative that’s been in limbo for some years now and covered very well at Calitics. Scheduled to go before voters in November ’08, Arnold is slashing money for the high speed rail authority in his 2007 budget and asking California legistators to postpone indefinitely the $9.95-billion rail bond that is slated to appear next year.

Below is my letter and the canned response:

(Cross-posted at Eco|Centric.)

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,
I’m writing in support of the high speed rail program, and in opposition to the reduction of its funds. I believe that HSR is a much more sound solution to California’s long term traffic congestion issues, both on the road and in the air. We don’t need more roads, or better roads. If we are to protect what makes California a beautiful and unique state, we need to pursue solutions that ensure the long term sustainability of it’s beauty and and health. High speed rail will do that.

Also, please consider other factors:

If you support the idea of high speed rail, it will never be cheaper to build than it is today. Putting it off only makes it more unlikely it will ever happen. If you decide to defund it, it is a clear sign, despite public pronouncements, that you DO NOT support the rail and what it represents to California.

HSR provides much greater security than planes, as no one can fly a train into a building with tons of jet fuel. HSR is a way to PROTECT californians from security risks.

It is more environmentally sound. It will significantly reduce global warming gases and reduce development in sensitive areas, which is inevitable with the extension of the roads and highways.

I am confident you will be a leader on this issue. High speed rail will be a testament to your governorship for many years to come.

From: “mailto:[email protected]
To: [email protected]
Sent: Wednesday, May 16, 2007 9:00:11 AM

Subject: Re: Show some love for high speed rail

Thank you for writing to Governor Schwarzenegger to share your thoughts and concerns about highspeed rail. The Governor appreciates hearing from people who care about the important issues facing our great state.

In November 2006, California voters approved one of the largest bond packages in the state’s history. This money represents a considerable down payment on repairing and building our infrastructure and boosting the public services necessary to preserve our quality of life. And, with the tremendous population growth expected for California over the next two decades, the Governor has put forward an even broader proposal that will include funding for flood control, schools, courts and the correctional system.

Because of the critical need for funding these other forms of vital infrastructure, California has a limited ability to borrow money for a full high-speed rail bond measure right now. Governor Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive Strategic Growth Plan, and its varying bond components, cannot happen simultaneously with the high-speed rail bond without putting the state into a position of spending General Fund dollars at too-high levels. This approach instead protects California’s credit rating and support for other important state programs.

But the Governor’s proposed budget does recognize that high-speed rail is a viable transit option worth exploring for the future, and so it includes $1.2 million for staff support of the High-Speed Rail Authority. He is also willing to consider other potential payment options for such a rail system, including private financing.

Again, thank you for taking the time to write and share your thoughts with Governor Schwarzenegger. He welcomes any comments that can help improve the future of California.

Office of Constituent Affairs