The Fed Giveth, Taketh Away

Anthony Pignataro:

It’s another day of good news and bad news for the California High Speed Rail Authority, that tiny but plucky state, um, entity charged with building an 800-mile network of bullet trains across California. First the good news: the state just received another $624 million in federal rail money.

“This is yet another vote of confidence that California’s project is on the right track toward creating tens of thousands of jobs for our state and constructing the nation’s first true high-speed rail system,” authority CEO Roelof van Ark said in this Dec. 9 press release.

And now the bad news. According to this Dec. 7 press release, U.S. House of Representatives just cut twice that amount of money in federal bullet train funding for projects nationwide, further imperiling California’s effort, which is estimated to cost between $43 billion and $90 billion. According to the release, which came out of the House Appropriations Committee, the Fiscal Year 2011 Year Long Funding Act “provides $1.5 billion less for high-speed rail, as the President requested.”

Okay then. Of course, it remains to be seen what the rail authority will do with the $624 million that they are getting. According to an e-mail sent out on the various rail funding announcements, Elizabeth Alexis, a Palo Alto economist active with Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design (CARRD), said it’s anything but clear what the authority will, or even can, do:

“The Authority can use this money to go north or south from their current Borden – Corcoran section. If they go south, there is a very expensive aerial structure to build through Corcoran, unless they can get approval to go through a Tulare wetlands mitigation project. If they go north, they would reach the BNSF [Burlington Northern Santa Fe] tracks, freeing up money that had been reserved to connect to these tracks, in case Plan B is activated and the high speed rail tracks become Amtrak’s. They would have to stop in Madera, as there would be no link up for many miles to BNSF track.”

DEC. 9, 2010

No comments

Write a comment
  1. John Seiler
    John Seiler 9 December, 2010, 15:00

    It’ll never be built.

    Reply this comment
  2. Ted Crocker
    Ted Crocker 9 December, 2010, 16:15

    Roelof van Ark must be the only person left in CA that truly believes this project is on the “right track”. The rest live in DC. Not even all the board members can agree. I know; if you say it enough times, it must be true, right? Well, Mr. van Ark, you’re not in Kansas anymore.

    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*

Related Articles

CA: 8 Cities in Top 10 Unemployed

John Seiler: What economic recovery? Of the Top 10 worst cities for unemployment in the United States, eight were in

The Boxer Fiorina jab session

Katy Grimes: Was that a debate between democrat U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and Republican challenger Carly Fiorina? I remember taking

Deconstructing Prop 23

Katy Grimes: The propositions on the November ballot this year are no different than past elections – they confuse even