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Trains vs. Dams

A dam at Temperance Flat is estimated to cost $2 billion, 1/50th of the projected cost of high-speed rail, yet there are no concrete plans to build it.

Jan 19, 2012


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Denis Prosperi
Chester Andrew
Bob Smittcamp
Russ Waymire
John "Dusty" Giacone
Joe Marchini
Mark Watte
Kole Upton
Piedad Ayala
Tom Barcellos
Jim Walls

Trains vs. Dams

The people of California understand the necessity of water and the luxury of high-speed rail. The most recent polls taken in the latter part of 2011 show that a vast majority of voters would now reject the high-speed rail project if they could vote again. On the other hand, 84% agree that investment in water infrastructure is necessary to insure a reliable water supply (both articles below).

It is clear to us that California is at a crisis stage bordering on bankruptcy. Only the most necessary projects should even be considered at this time. Water is clearly not only important to all Californians but also necessary. High-speed rail, on the other hand, might be nice to have. Until the country and the state can get their financial house in order the only spending on the table at this time should be for water infrastructure.

A dam at Temperance Flat is estimated to cost $2 billion, 1/50th of the projected cost of high-speed rail, yet there are no concrete plans to build it. Even if the water bond passes this November (if it's even on the ballot), there's no guarantee it will be built. We know environmental interests will fight and drag it out for years. It would be nice if our community leaders would support water supply issues like they have supported high-speed rail. If our water were more certain our economic base would be more certain and we would have a better tax base to support other projects.

The polls dealing with water and high-speed rail were taken before the current drought extended into January. If the water poll were taken now there can be no doubt that even more people would be in favor of water projects, and if contrasted against high-speed rail, water would certainly be more important to most Californians.

If this drought continues into the Spring it will become increasingly necessary for leaders to get off the high-speed train and on the water bandwagon.

State voters would now reject high-speed rail project, poll shows

Los Angeles Times

A clear majority of Californians would reject the state’s high-speed rail project if there was a second chance to vote on it, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The new poll of registered voters by Field Research Corp. in San Francisco shows that 64% of those surveyed want another vote on the $98-billion project and that 59% would oppose it if another vote were taken.

The fact that its projected cost has tripled and the construction deadline has been extended to 2033 were cited as reasons for opposing it.

“If there were a re-vote, its chances of passage given this poll are not very good,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.

Voters originally approved the project when they passed Proposition 1A in November 2008. The ballot measure also authorized $9 billion in state bonds to help fund a 520-mile high-speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Of those who voted for the project in 2008, the Field Poll indicated that 53% would still do so, 37% would say no, and 10% are undecided.

The results are similar to those released earlier this year by Probolsky Research, a polling firm specializing in government and politics based in Newport Beach. Its survey found that 62.4% of likely voters in California would reject the project if given a second chance to vote on it.

The project also came in last in a list of voters’ spending priorities.

Both polls differ, however, from a survey released in July 2010 by the California High Speed Rail Authority. The poll by Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and Public Opinion Strategies found that 76% of Californians supported the project, including 34% who wanted high-speed rail to proceed as quickly as possible.


California agriculture gets good news in water poll

  • A poll indicates California voters favor spending public tax monies to upgrade and modernize the state's water supply system.
  • A survey of 1,000 registered voters reveals that 75 percent are concerned about water.

A recent poll that indicates California voters favor spending public tax monies to upgrade and modernize the state's water supply system is good news for farmers, according to the state's largest farm water organization.

"Even after two years of normal rainfall that followed several years of drought and water delivery cutbacks to farmers and urban water users alike, California voters recognize the need to improve our water supply system," said Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition. The organization represents more than 5 million of the 8 million irrigated acres in California.

A survey conducted last month of 1,000 registered voters by the Field Research Corporation on behalf of the Association of California Water Agencies reveals that 75 percent are concerned about water. Furthermore, 84 percent agreed that California must invest in its water infrastructure to ensure a reliable water supply for the future.

"Water supplies that were reduced to farmers because of the recent drought and environmental regulations emphasize the need to improve our delivery system," Wade added. "The result was over a quarter-million acres of productive farmland went barren and farmworkers lost their jobs. That was bad news for a struggling California economy."

A bond measure is scheduled for the November 2012 ballot that would raise funds to improve the water delivery system and also provide money to complete studies that could lead to an increased storage system.

A large majority of the voters surveyed, 62 percent, believe investing billions of dollars in a state water bond package would be worth it to ensure reliable water supplies now and into the future," stated an ACWA news release announcing the poll results.

"We cannot delay in moving forward in securing California's future water supply," insisted Wade. "Once voters approve the 2012 water bond, it will be years before California experiences the results. We must move forward to provide the jobs and water that Californians deserve."

The survey findings can be found by clicking here.

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