Town Square

On Deadline blog: Major high-speed rail hearing Tuesday night -- who will come?

Original post made by Jay Thorwaldson, editor emeritus, on Mar 9, 2012

A major state Senate public hearing has been scheduled next Tuesday evening to hear about possible new directions for high-speed rail in California -- directions that could rebuild public and legislative confidence in the much-criticized project.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

CREDIBILITY has become the big issue for the High-Speed Rail Authority; HSR has none.

Why would anyone believe a word they say? On most substantive issues, HSR has been wrong, wrong, wrong in the past.

'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.'

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 10, 2012 at 1:36 pm

Nice summary, Jay.

"Show me a rock, any rock. No, not that one. Show me another one." It looks like none of these rocks have been "done right." Actually, Simitian's "done right" mantra is a clever cop-out. He doesn't actually oppose high-speed rail. To the contrary, he seeks it. It just has to be "done right," as he says. That way, he can agree with all us critics of and objectors to the project, and at the same time, agree with all the HSR supporters. A neat, political trick. Ditto the others, like Eshoo, Gordon, etc.

Same with the "blended alignment" for the Caltrain corridor. That's having it both ways. It does admit HSR on the Corridor, but only under very constrained conditions. That has been a major promotional solution from fence sitters Eshoo, Simitian and Gordon. They say it will be a permanent two-track solution. Yeah, right! Two-tracks and at-grade until more funding shows up and then it will be four-track elevated viaducts.

This almost ten year old high-speed rail/Caltrain game in California and in the Bay Area has been about politics and money. When will we all stop being fooled?

As Paul puts it, above, Fool me twice. . . . . . .

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Posted by common sense
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 11, 2012 at 8:06 am

Questions for Simitian:

1) Does the High Speed Rail plan meet what was specified in Prop 1A (the ballot measure which laid out the conditions for funding $10 billion)? Prop 1A specified a High Speed Rail from Sacramento to San Diego costing no more than $33 billion, and money from the bond would only be spent once the other $23 billion was committed to by the federal government or private investors, and the project completed by 2023, and no subsidy of operational costs.

We all know the answer is NO - but can Simitian give an honest, ethical answer, or is he going to dissemble?

2) Will he vote NOT to release the bond money later on this year?

A simple Yes or No answer. No need to have a long meeting. We all know the answer - but will Simitian vote based on the facts, or will he vote with his special interest campaign contributors?

Simitian can talk about his two faced position on "High Speed Rail done right", but the estimate of $99 billion is so far off what was approved in Prop 1A, as well as not being able to find funding to build the entire system, the answers should be very clear cut.