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Elections Have Consequences

Many of the problems with HSR in the Valley have been self inflicted by the arrogant and dismissive attitude of the engineering firms hired to do the outreach

Dec 07, 2012

After President Obama, Governor Brown, and the Democrats won the Presidency the Governorship and both houses of the California legislature, we have been lectured by those who wish to implement their respective agendas which include inflicting High Speed Rail on the Central Valley that elections have consequences. Fair enough, but it cuts both ways.

The Republicans kept control of the House of Representatives, and federal appropriations bills must start there. Thus, the Rail Hearing on Thursday in Washington D.C. offers some interesting insights. Valley Congressmen Kevin McCarthy and Jeff Denham are proposing that Congress allocate no more money to the California High Speed Rail Project. Some quotes from the Hearing:

1. Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation for the Obama Administration said, “As long as there is language in bills prohibiting spending (on California High Speed Rail), we are going nowhere.”

2. Regarding the treatment of farmers in the Central Valley, “Mr. LaHood said, “I was stunned by the treatment of the farmers.”

Mr. LaHood gets high marks for honesty. It would be refreshing if Governor Brown and the few HSR advocates here in the Central Valley would also acknowledge that many of the problems with HSR in the Valley have been self inflicted by the arrogant and dismissive attitude of the engineering firms hired to do the outreach and coordination with local public agencies and residents.

Our conclusions:

A. Mr. Denham was targeted by Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic establishment for defeat. Despite spending million of dollars, they failed. Denham’s election made a difference.

B. The California High Speed Rail Board has promised for more than a year to bring new approach to the Valley. The Rail Board has two immediate opportunities to reflect this change. One is in the Fresno to Bakersfield section.

The other is the ‘Wye’ section in Merced and Madera Counties that was transferred to the Merced to San Jose engineering group. However, prior to the transfer, the Board approved a ‘preferred route’ in that area that was unanimously opposed by every public agency with jurisdiction in the area. A good faith gesture to reflect a change in attitude would be for the Rail Board to remove the ’preferred status’ from that route and instruct the Merced to San Jose engineering group to work with locals to design an acceptable route that works for High Speed Rail, but is compatible with the existing infrastructure.

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