Newspaper editorializes against Denham’s anti-rail stance
by Brian Leubitz
California’s High Speed Rail system isn’t very popular among California Republicans. Or Republicans in general. But one thing you don’t often see: a Congressman telling the federal government to move money from his own district to another part of the country. That’s just what Jeff Denham has done:
“Given that there are over 11.4 million Amtrak riders and over 200 million commuters that use the Northeast Corridor every year, it would be an investment in an area where we have proven ridership,” Denham said at a hearing at the site of the future Moynihan Station in New York, which is intended to replace the cramped Penn Station across the street…(McClatchy)
Now, as Robert pointed out in the HSR Blog, this doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. The federal government can provide funds for both projects. But this call to move money out of California also means moving jobs out of California. That’s what the Bee thought improper:
In the Central Valley — where unemployment averages more than 15%, more than 40% in some cities — the project would bring jobs and better connections with the coastal economies. It would relieve traffic congestion on roads and at airports.
But Denham’s having none of it. He laments that construction on the first 29 miles of track between Madera and Fresno will start soon.
Denham’s constituents and residents across the state should demand more from their congressman. He should be representing the Central Valley, California and the transportation interests of the nation — not pitting the Northeast region against all others.(FresnoBee)
An interesting stance for a Congressman with a marginal district, and at least one formidable opponent.