High-speed rail likely sidetracked

first_img“Candidly, unless somebody in the Senate and the Assembly takes ownership and responsibility for high-speed rail, it will never get anywhere,” he said. The author of the high-speed rail bond measure, former Sen. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, was forced out of the Legislature in 2002 by term limits and is now in Congress. The project, if completed, would link San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco and Sacramento with trains running at top speeds of more than 200 mph. A $9.95 billion bond would provide about half the money needed for a startup line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Supporters hope to get the rest of the funding from the federal government and possibly private investors. The $37.3 billion public works bond package includes $19.9 billion for various transportation projects, but only $100 million of that could help pave the way for high-speed rail by eliminating some points where roads would cross the tracks. Here are some of the other bills facing votes this week at the Capitol: Public Financing – Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, is trying to weaken the influence of wealthy campaign contributors by convincing her colleagues to approve a bill that would allow partial public financing of state races. The measure is on the Senate Elections, Reapportionment and Constitutional Amendment Committee’s agenda on Wednesday.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – California’s attempt to build a high-speed rail system is headed for the siding again, pushed off track by the $37.3 billion public works bond package lawmakers approved earlier this month. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to sign the four measures that make up the public works package this week, placing them on the November ballot for voters to consider. That means that a $9.95 billion high-speed rail bond will be pushed back again, likely to the November 2008 ballot. “With $37 billion in bonds on the ballot, including (nearly) $20 billion for transportation, I don’t think anybody realistically believes that high-speed rail has a chance of being passed,” said Assemblyman Alberto Torrico, D-Fremont. “We’re going to have to pull it back for two years.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsSupporters tout high-speed rail as a much-needed alternative to crowded freeways and jammed airports as the state’s population increases over the next 20 years. But it’s had difficulty getting rolling. Lawmakers approved the rail bond measure in 2002 and put it on the November 2004 ballot, then decided the state faced more pressing needs and bumped the bonds back to this November’s ballot. A bill by Torrico would delay the vote until 2008. It’s scheduled to be taken up Tuesday by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee. Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, predicted lawmakers would approve the bill and send it to Schwarzenegger, who signed the earlier legislation delaying the vote on the bonds until this year. Perata said the high-speed rail project needs a champion in the Legislature to give it chance to become a reality. last_img

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