Simitian seeks to postpone high-speed-rail funding | January 13, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - January 13, 2012

Simitian seeks to postpone high-speed-rail funding

Amid calls to end $98.5 billion project, legislator favors taking a year to rethink it

by Gennady Sheyner

Three years after California voters approved a $9.95 billion bond to build the nation's first high-speed-rail system, a debate over its funding has turned into a legislative game of chicken, with billions of dollars on the line.

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Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner can be emailed at


Posted by peninsula commuter, a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2012 at 9:44 am

Way to go Joe! I'm pleasantly surprised by your fiscal responsibility and political courage in standing up to this gasping beached whale of a Boondoggle.

Posted by registered user, stephen levy, a resident of University South
on Jan 13, 2012 at 9:57 am

Way to go Joe!!

Posted by Robert, a resident of Stanford
on Jan 13, 2012 at 10:41 am

Senator Simitian's position is still far short of opposition to this ongoing fiasco. What exactly is it about this project that is keeping him from coming out against it definitively, instead of just urging that CHSRA do some more thinking about it before the legislature gives CHSRA matching funds? Could his approach be a Simitian variation on the 'death by a thousand cuts' strategy, one that obviates any need for him to stand up and oppose the project unambiguously? Or is there something else at work here beneath the surface that I am overlooking, like an upcoming political campaign that requires not alienating voters who support this HSR project, such as potential construction workers, hardware providers, and consultants?

Posted by Toady, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

"What exactly is it about this project that is keeping him from coming out against it definitively"

He's a Democrat.

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Community Center
on Jan 13, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Spendng decisions should prevail over financing decisions.

High Speed Rail advocates have it backwards. They are saying we should do this project because funds are available, even though the project is seriously questionable.

I don't like Sarah Palin, but I do credit her for killing a "bridge to nowhere" that was funded and not needed. This is no different.

Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of another community
on Jan 13, 2012 at 4:08 pm

The Democratic Governor and the Democratic majorities in the Legislature need to terminate the High Speed Rail project before it becomes an issue in the 2014 general election that will enable the Republicans to win the Governorship and a majority of the Assembly and State Senate seats.

The proposals by Senator Joe Simitian and Assemblyman Jerry Hill to delay for a year the final decision to terminate the project so that it does not affect their short term interests in this year's election will just make it harder next year for the Democrats in Sacramento to think of their long term interests and make a decision to terminate the project in the face of a potential initiative measure from the Republicans and their Tea Party allies that asks the voters to terminate the High Speed Rail project at the November 2014 election.

Posted by Morgan, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm

The CA HSR project has been a fraud from the get go. I read the ballot initiative and thought its assumptions and claims to be absurd and voted against it. It seems that the only supporters of this greasy pork filled sausage on rails are the CA HSR Authority, big labor unions, and their indebted politicians. Every authoritative review of the CA HSR project, that was not a result of the CA HSR spin machine, has uniformly criticized every aspect of this project. Seemingly, no leaf has been left unturned, and the conclusion years after the ballot initiative is that it's a bigger fraud now, than it was when it was hatched by the ballot initiative process. Is any one still surprised by this? Sadly, apparently so, enter Joe.

In spite of being confronted by one sobering report after another, Joe Simitian still isn't sure what to do. Stopping the CA HSR is the sensible solution, but no, Joe needs another year to consider his options, er, his political options I suspect. My guess is that by trying to defer any real decision regarding HSR, Joe postpones being forced by the voters to kill the project, and anger the big labor unions, who seem to be in the driver seat with the Democrats in Sacramento.

Do the right thing Joe, terminate the CA HSR Authority and the ridiculous as proposed rail project BEFORE you get termed out.

Posted by Bill Hough, a resident of Los Altos
on Jan 14, 2012 at 9:00 am

Joe Simitian is desperately trying to put lipstick on a pig.

Posted by Ted Crocker, a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2012 at 9:17 am

Robert of Stanford is right. The Dems are going to do all they can to keep this pig alive through the election, and that includes perpetuating the empty promises to those they depend on for re-election. Joe Simitian has drawn the line in the sand and ignored it so many times with the HSRA, I've lost count.

Posted by common sense, a resident of Midtown
on Jan 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Simitian will be running for county supervisor. One way to send a message to Simitian is to NOT dontate to his campaign, and do NOT vote for Simitian.

A significant drop in votes & campaign donations to Simitian will send a message to all the other members of the state legislature, and they will terminate HSR, even if Simitian won't do it.