This Train Is Bound for Glory?
Once, Californians were scheduled to vote on whether to fund high-speed rail in 2000. And in 2004. And in 2006. The timing never seemed quite right, so lawmakers ...
Once, Californians were scheduled to vote on whether to fund high-speed rail in 2000. And in 2004. And in 2006. The timing never seemed quite right, so lawmakers kept delaying the vote. Now the vote is scheduled for this year, but, surprise, surprise, the situation is getting complicated.
The project aspires to be the first of its kind in the Unites States. Los Angeles and San Francisco would be linked by trains traveling at 220 miles per hours, easily the fastest in the United States.
The biggest problem has always been the price. The ballot measure would authorize the sale of $9.9 billion in bonds, which would pay for only a quarter of the estimated cost.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, an on-again-off-again supporter of high-speed rail, favors modifying the measure to only allow the bonds to be sold once private investors commit money of their own. Rail supporters in the legislature contend that the state will have to sell the bonds before the private sector will bite.
From an Associated Press article, it doesn't sound as though Schwarzenegger will win this battle. But the bigger threat to the project may come from the voters. As the AP notes:
Schwarzenegger wants the November ballot to include many of his own spending proposals. They would include a $14 billion health care reform plan and $38.3 billion in new borrowing for school and university buildings, water projects and courthouse construction.
In addition, the state is facing a $14.4 billion budget deficit over the next year-and-a-half.
The budget situation seems likely to make voters more skeptical of large-scale borrowing. In other words, after all of the delays, California may end up voting on high-speed rail at precisely the wrong moment.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Skyrocketing Court Fines Are Major Revenue Generator for Ferguson2 hours ago
The Week in Public Finance: Rhyme Time, Slow Money and Water Works38 minutes ago
California Legislature Rushes to Complete Bills Before the Session Ends2 hours ago
Does Adrian Wyllie, Florida's Libertarian Candidate for Governor, Have a Chance?2 hours ago
Acquitted Mayor Sues Florida's Governor, Wants His Job Back2 hours ago
Georgia Fights Efforts to Outlaw Online Gambling3 hours ago