Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Congress Won’t Fund California’s Ambitious High Speed Rail Any Time Soon

Over the course of construction, the latest business plan for the California High Speed Rail Authority calls for infusion of $42 billion in federal funds. So far the state has received $3.3 billion. The remaining $38.7 billion won’t be coming in any time soon. April 19 the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of funding legislation for transportation of all sorts, and there isn’t a dime in the measure specified for any high speed rail construction. While the only House legislation to fund transportation projects passed thus far has been two bills extending the Highway Trust Fund for three months each, and the final transportation funding bill will come out of a conference committee, the House already passed a measure sponsored by Congressman Jeff Denham to explicitly block any further funding for high speed rail in California.

While California high Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard denies Congressional reluctance to provide any more money is a setback, saying, “In our business plan, we do not expect any additional federal funds for at least three years,” he does not go on to predict that billions will be forthcoming in that short a time period. Elizabeth Alexis, co-founder of Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design, states the obvious: “We continue to have the risk of either stranded investments, or the even bigger risk that California is forced to spend money it does not have to salvage something.”

blog comments powered by Disqus