THE VOTE IS THIS WEEK. They will be deciding whether to release over $2 Billion in State bond funding to start high speed rail in the Central Valley.
If you feel like the California High Speed Rail plan is wrong - that they are not living up to the requirements set forth in Prop 1A, that they are not telling truth about the plans, that they will be forging ahead without regard to the environment, or the communities they will destroy on the way, then its time NOW to speak up.
Know that the pro-HSR contingent lead by big developers that want your property, and big unions that want your tax dollars, are very organized around contacting and pressuring the legislature, not just from within California, but also organizing non-Californians. To commit YOUR tax dollars.
The issues you might be concerned about:
Prop 1A told voters the HSR would cost 33Billion. They now show an incomplete plan that does not even include all elements, at $68B and growing.
Prop 1A told voters they would only build in complete usable segments of High Speed Rail, that would not require operating subsidy. The segment they are planning first is an non-electrified stretch of track in the middle of the central valley, that will not connect to dense population centers, and it will only at best be connection track to existing conventional rail. This is not the Complete Usable Segment approach that was promised in Prop 1A
Prop 1A told voters that they would only begin a segment when they had full funding for that segment identified. They only have $6B, not complete funding, not even for that segment. And no private funding sources identified. And no federal funding beyond $3B. So they have a 'wing and a prayer' plan for funding. In the meantime they will rake through massive numbers of homes, businesses and farmlands, forcing people out of their livelihoods to build stranded track.
Prop 1A told you they would have complete environmental clearances before they even asked for the bond appropriation for the usable segment. Not only do they NOT have complete environmental clearances, but Governor Jerry Brown has already circulated legislation that he will trash the environmental laws that allow individuals their rights through the courts to seek justice through the environmental process. In other words, CHSRA approves THEIR OWN environmental impacts, and NO COURTS would be able to prevent it. In the face of strong opposition from environmental groups to this plan, Jerry Brown last week said he's backing off that - FOR NOW but that plan is still on the table. In other words he will not ask his democratic legislatures to stick their necks out on that legislation until AFTER he has secured the funding.
By they way they are NOW voting on the HSR funding and the CHSRA's budget, AFTER the State budget was already approved by the legislature last week. So MORE budget shenanigans from the Governor and the Legislature who really have no intent to do the right thing by the budget.
They will tell you that Caltrain electrification is hanging in the balance. This is BULL. If electrification of Caltrain is a priority of our served communities, then bond funding specific to the needs of Caltrain can be passed without selling our souls to CHSRA. Realize - the initial funding they are requesting, and the initial segment plan on the table, is not for the Caltrain ROW anyway. Its the funding for the stranded Central Valley track.
They will tell you also that they have agreed to a 'blended approach' that keeps the HSR line 'primarily within existing right of way' along the Caltrian row. READ THE FINE PRINT. What they MEAN is, FOR NOW. When its time, they will take as much of the surrounding community as they damn well please, and nothing will stop them.
Is there really ANYTHING the California High Speed Rail Authority has said since the passage of Prop 1A that has turned out to be remotely truthful or trustworthy?
PLEASE contact your representatives particularly DEMOCRATIC representatives, to voice your opposition to HSR funding for this plan.