California high-speed rail receives redirected funds
by Russell's Rants
Originally published December 21, 2010
Earlier this month, I reported on the request by California’s two senators to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to redirect to California high-speed rail stimulus funds that other states were foregoing. (http://www.examiner.com/node/26719501) And sure enough, yesterday Barbara Boxer announced that, in fact, Secretary LaHood has agreed to redirect up to $624 million dollars to California for its high-speed rail project. (http://boxer.senate.gov/en/press/updates/122010.cfm)
California will get about half of the $1.2 billion in high-speed grants that were rejected by Wisconsin and Ohio. The rest of the money will go toward high-speed rail projects in Florida ($342 million), Washington ($161 million) and Illinois ($42 million).
This is great news for California and the other states getting new grants. Bad news for the citizens of Wisconsin and Ohio, whose governors-elect (Scott Walker and John Kasich) ran on platforms that called for high-speed rail programs to be canceled. So no Milwaukee-Madison or Columbus-Cincinnati train lines.
California, however, can continue progress on its eventual high-speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco (and Florida on its line from Tampa to Orlando). After I wrote my first article, I got an e-mail from a conservative California congressperson, complaining that the first hub for the California rail being built in Central California was not connected to anything. You do have to start somewhere, and the flat Central Valley was seen as an ideal location for testing, before the line connecting Southern California with Northern California is completed. Connect a few hubs, and you have a line!
The high-speed rail shows that America can still build things, as Chris Matthews might point out. And this type of infrastructure spending will provide both excellent stimulus for the economy and the foundation for high-speed rail that is sorely needed in our country and will be used for generations.