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July 31, 2011



This one deserves its own post, but in the meanwhile, here it is. Thank you, Jerry Deal, for telling it like it is.

Deal levels harsh criticism at high-speed rail

By John Horgan
San Mateo County Times

For the first time, a member of the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, the entity that governs Caltrain, has come out publicly against a plan to build a high-speed rail line in California.

Burlingame City Councilman Jerry Deal, writing bluntly on his website, has stated that the controversial proposal, which would utilize the Caltrain right of way through San Mateo County, would spell fiscal calamity for the state.
Deal, recently named to the Caltrain board, declared, "High-speed rail, as proposed, will bankrupt California and drain all available transportation money from all other transportation projects. You will pay and pay dearly for many years." He added that the ambitious enterprise is a "potentially catastrophic undertaking."

Deal, who is seeking re-election to the Burlingame City Council, is one of nine members of the Caltrain board. There are three each from San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Not long after California voters approved Proposition 1A three years ago, allowing the state to borrow about $9 billion to help finance early work on a high-speed line, the board gave its OK to begin a close relationship with the California High-Speed Rail Authority. In return for electrification and other capital improvements for Caltrain, the local commuter operation would permit high-speed trains on its Peninsula corridor.

Deal's unambiguous position signifies a potential fracture in that relationship, and it ends the board's lock-step stance in favor of the bullet trains. His broadside also comes at the same time high-speed rail's hoped-for federal funds are in some serious doubt as Congress wrestles with budget reductions aimed at trimming the national debt.

In addition, high-speed rail's ridership estimates and overall business plan have been the subject of a series of highly critical reports, all of them calling into question the viability of the project.

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