“Shovel Ready” High Speed Rail? CA Is Ahead of the Game

Yesterday,
Vice President Joe Biden, met with governors from eight different
states that are competing for High Speed Rail funding.  Streetsblog’s
D.C. Correspondent wrote a story about the national implications
of the meeting available at our New York site.  While neither
Schwarzenegger nor another representative from California was present,
there was good news for California.  From today’s Times,

"The reason why California is looked at so closely — it’s been a
priority of your governor, it’s been a priority of your Legislature,
they’ve talked about it, a lot of planning has been done," Biden said
in a conference call with reporters.

The vice president said
the administration wants "to get shovel-ready projects out the door as
quickly as we can. . . . So California is in the game."

In
other words, because California has been working on the San Francisco
to San Diego High Speed Rail Corridor, and because voters put up funds
for the project in the form of bond money; we have a leg up in applying
for federal funds as the Obama Administration makes them available.

And let’s be clear, it’s not as though the entire corridor were "Shovel
Ready" but there are two sets of track that the California High Speed
Rail Authority says are ready to go.  The first is local, as the state
could connect Los Angeles to Anaheim at a cost of $3 billion.  The
second corridor would connect San Francisco to San Jose at somewhere
between $4 billion and $5 billion.

Back when the federal stimulus was first passed, Ben Fried out of our New York office wrote a pretty brutal takedown of the final bill
that I re-posted at the LA Streetsblog.  Supporters of California High
Speed Rail were upset for obvious reasons and I defended Fried’s post
in the comments section by saying.

But that so much of the negotition was done in Harry Reid’s office (to
the point that Pelosi actually pitched a fit about it according to
Politico) and he’s already talking about funding for the gamblin’ train
to Las Vegas, I am mighty sceptical that much, if any, of that money is
going to end up being spent on the line we supported last fall. If it
does, I’ll do a mea culpa post and you can all "I told you so’d" me.
I’ve certainly been willing to do them in the past.

Well,
let’s just say I’m not quite ready to eat crow just yet, but I got it
marinating.  In this case, the crow would taste awfully good.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETSBLOG USA

California: Ground Zero in the High Speed Rail Wars

|
On Thursday, the California High Speed Rail Authority accepted the resignation of Ogilvy Public Relations. The PR firm was about to get axed over accusations that it billed excessively while doing little to counter a tide of anti-rail propaganda. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, at the Rosemead Community Recreation Center, east of Los Angeles, the Authority displayed […]