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May 24, 2010



Caltrain may be extracting itself from the coat tails of HSR.


Looks like I'm not the only Burlingamer unwilling to live with Boondoggles. Couple of letters that appeared yesterday and today.

Public comment on the California High Speed Rail Authority’s (HSRA) “April 8, 2010 Preliminary Alternatives Analysis for San Francisco to San Jose” ends June 8. You must write to: HSRA, Dan Leavitt, 925 L St., Suite 1425, Sacramento, CA 95814, and/or email to [email protected] or fax 916-322-0827.
Send a copy of your letter to your city council, state representatives Hill/Eshoo/Simitian, and U.S. Representatives Speier/Boxer/Feinstein, so HSRA can’t claim they “misplaced” them. You should comment if you are concerned that: HSRA couldn’t account for $169 million to State Auditor Howle; that California can’t afford a $100 billion politician/labor/union boondoggle, nor afford to subsidize it after it’s built; that HSRA’s projected 400,000 daily ridership number for LA to SF is dangerously fictitious; that HSRA Board Members from “Operating Engineers Local 3,” who know nothing about rail, shouldn’t play “God” and unilaterally evict preexisting poor children/families from their homes through eminent domain.

Mike Brown

For those of us who regularly receive the hyped press releases from the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the latest announcement means more good money after bad — grant applications for $16.6 million in federal funds. This is a drop in the bucket.
It has become abundantly clear and recently substantiated both by the LAO and State Auditor’s report, that there is simply not enough money to complete the type of high-speed rail system envisioned by those who voted for Proposition 1A in 2008. Some estimate that the current $45 billion price tag could easily reach $100 billion, and not a single track has been laid. Ominously however, there is enough money via stimulus funds to start digging ourselves into a hole, from which we may never emerge. What then?
U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier’s recent admission that the auditor’s report has raised her concern that the project could become a “house of cards” is welcome news, but is it too little, too late? She joins state senators Joe Simitian and Alan Lowenthal (both who chair budget subcommittees overseeing transportation spending) who many months ago listened to valid concerns regarding irreversible damage to cities, inflated ridership and budget.
How much money will be wasted on multiple consultants, reports and studies before the plug is finally pulled on this boondoggle? In the meanwhile, we should expect plenty of hype from communications firm Ogilvy. Nine million dollars of our taxpayer money cannot buy us a train system, but it surely can buy plenty of PR.

Mary Griffith

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