Good and bad news on bullet train(s) front

March 24, 2013

By Chris Reed

train_wreck_num_2As I wrote last week, the budget that Senate Democrats have embraced contains so little discretionary funding for California’s bullet-train project that it is impossible to see how the $68 billion project ever gets done.

But here’s an interesting twist. The primary author of the budget — Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash. — is so down on the Obama administration’s bullet train initiative that she tried to kill it in 2011. This is from a Sept. 21, 2011, AP story:

“WASHINGTON (AP) — The Democratic-led Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to provide $100 million to build high-speed rail lines, a small portion of what President Barack Obama has proposed for one of his economic priorities.

“The panel voted by voice Wednesday to include the money in a $110 billion transportation and housing bill for next year.

“Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the bill’s author, included nothing for high-speed rail in the original measure, citing budget constraints.

“But senators backed an amendment by No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Richard Durbin of Illinois adding the money. He said it would be paid for with unspent money from past home district projects called earmarks.’

The Vegas-to-Victorville bullet train. Yes, I said Victorville.

That’s the good news. Here’s the bad news: There’s another costly bullet-train program still alive that we don’t hear much about — and its advocates are still somewhat cocky that billions of dollars in now-available federal funds will be wasted on it. It is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s farcical plan to link Las Vegas with, yes, Victorville with a high-speed rail project dependent on federal dollars.

For those who don’t know their Socal geography, Victorville is 85 miles from Los Angeles — 85 congested miles on Interstates 15 and 10. This is only slightly less crazy than the California bullet train’s first segment being built in farm country in the Central Valley.



Related Articles

Welfare as Wave Life: Don’t Blame it on Rio

As the Los Angeles Times noted last year, welfare “clients,” as the system calls them, were using their Electronic Benefits

Legal cannabis industry continues to struggle in California

The drumbeat of disappointment over the slow start of legal marijuana in California keeps building with many dispensary owners, growers

Consequences of Conservation

March 23, 2012 Palo Alto residents have responded admirably to the city’s “Zero Waste” campaign, which aims to divert almost