Winning The Future, anyone remember that one? That was President Obama’s scheme to rebuild the American economy on among other things, high speed rail.
In his 2011 State of the Union address he said, “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. … The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information — from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet.”
President Obama assured us that we would connect 80 percent of Americans to high-speed rail within 25 years.
Governors like Rick Scott of Florida and Scott Walker of Wisconsin saw this for the boondoggle it was and refused the government money for high speed rail.
California, however, never a state to pass up an opportunity to waste taxpayer dollars, signed on to the project right away, receiving 3.5 billion dollars from the federal government, and borrowing another 10 billion dollars in a bond issue. The money is to build a high speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco. The estimated cost for the project is 68 billion dollars. Since Congress cut off 2012 funds for such projects, California is the only U.S. state working to lay tracks for 220 mph trains. The project remains about $54 billion short of what is required for completion
Public support among Californians is waning, however. A recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll found that 59 percent would now oppose the rail project given another chance to vote even though it was previously approved by a 53% majority.
Even with a budget deficit of 15.7 billion dollars, Governor Jerry Brown seems undeterred. He has allocated some of the 9.95 billion dollars in bond issues for the rail project in fiscal year 2012, while he asks voters to increase sales and income taxes and cut the school year by three weeks.