California High-Speed Rail Starved For Cash
The California High Speed Rail project has been in trouble for some time now, and for a myriad of reasons. Estimated costs have ballooned north of $68 billion,and recent legal action has prevented the state of California from selling $8.6 billion in voter approved bonds in an effort to get the project moving. Opponents of the high speed rail line have consistently said that the project is way over budget, poses environmental concerns, and that the rail authority has deceived voters who had voted for Proposition 1A back in 2008.
In other words, it’s a mess that Jerry Brown still wants to push through.
Opponents of the high speed rail project are trying to financially starve this beast – and so far they are succeeding. The federal government awarded around $3.5 billion in grants to the California High Speed Rail Project, and within this these grants is $2.5 billion in federal stimulus money that requires a dollar for dollar match by the state of California. That match must be spent/made by 2017, or the Golden State loses the money, which represents just about 5% of the total estimated cost of the project.
Because California didn’t have the money to pony up to match the $2.5 billion in federal grant dollars, the state turned to bonds to fund the match. The question of using bonds went to ballot, and the bonds were approved by California voters. Problem solved, right? Not quite. Two recent court decisions have prevented the state from selling $8.6 billion in the voter approved bonds. SO even though voters approved the sale of the bonds, the courts have said “Nah.”
The filed petition by the Brown Administration is saying that the courts have no right to stall the high speed rail project – in essence that the people voted for this measure, and to stall it any further is an infringement on their rights In addition to the petition, a new draft of the high speed rail proposal is being made public. This new business plan is the first of its kind to reach the public’s eyes since the rail authority’s April 2012 business plan. The new forecast is down slightly from $68.4 billion as estimated in 2012, but remains more than double the $33 billion projected in 2008.
What do you think? Should voters get the bonds they voted for, or should the whole project be scrapped and started over?
Source: Fox News.com
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail.