The Only High-Speed ‘Rail’ We're Seeing In California Is the Railing of the Opposition; The CAHSR PROJECT

The Only High-Speed ‘Rail’ We're Seeing In California Is the Railing of the Opposition: "t CAHSR project.  "

t CAHSR project.  written by Mr. Alpern;



GETTING THERE FROM HERE-Painful as it might be for Governor Brown to admit, and to confront, there is no shortage of bipartisan sentiment opposing the High-Speed Rail he's lionized for decades.   
The majority of Californians arguably DO want high-speed rail in some shape or form, but after the perceived baiting/switching of those who crafted the original initiative, those still supporting the current high-speed rail plan will have some serious uphill climbing to make it a reality. 
It's easy to presume that the opposition to the California High-Speed Rail (CAHSR) Plan is merely partisan in nature, but Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and other Democratic leaders running to replace Brown in 2018 will likely put this plan on hold or, more likely, modify it greatly to slow it down and make it more affordable. 
The GOP-led House, meanwhile, just passed a motion requiring that the state pay up all of its matching funds being offered by the feds as required in a 2012 agreement to have Washington and Sacramento partner for the construction of this CAHSR, and for which the state is currently $200 million behind in payments ... 
... and with billions more to come, once construction begins.  With our state's pension crisis, drought and other infrastructure, K-12 education, prison overcrowding, university construction, and other budgetary priorities stuck in our Legislature's docket, it's hard to throw another $2-3 billion each year at the current CAHSR project.   
As Newsom and others have stated, it was easy to support the CAHSR project when it was passed by the voters, but many voters who once supported the project now do NOT support the current financial shenanigans being promoted by the current and remaining CAHSR supporters...particularly because the CAHSR almost certainly will NOT reach the speeds required by the original initiative voted in by a slim majority of the voters in 2008. 
Oh, and that House motion supported that "evil Republican" Jeff Denham as an amendment to the Transportation appropriations bill between the feds and the CAHSR Authority, requiring Sacramento to pony up its matching funds up front?   
Apparently, whether one respects, tolerates, or despises Republicans, the desire to be honest, transparent, and balanced in governmental budgetary decisions is rather bipartisan in nature...which is something that this particular Governor was elected, and re-elected, to do. 
So are the many opposition groups threatening legal and political action against the CAHSR project merely a bunch of NIMBY's to be summarily dismissed, or credible individuals who want better rail but not THIS type or plan of rail? 
Because there are no shortage of rail, environmental or other advocates who WANT better mobility, cleaner air, and more job creation...but who just can't go forward with the CAHSR project at this point: 
1) Certainly, this project--advertised as a better way to connect LA and SF--actually has as its greatest strength the ability to link both LA and SF to middle-California cities with poor airline connections, and to mitigate against suburban sprawl.  In other words, the CAHSR should learn to shut up about connecting LA to SF and start talking more about connecting LA to Burbank, Palmdale and middle-California cities. 
2) Certainly, the opportunities of Metrolink/MetroRail to be improved will capture the hearts, minds and wallets of LA taxpayers, but with a more obvious benefit than CAHSR.  A Metrolink or MetroRail extension from LA Union Station directly to LAX?  A Green Line MetroRail extension to the Norwalk Metrolink station to allow Inland Empire commuters to avoid the 91 and 105 freeways?  An underground rail option for the Sepulveda Pass?  Why, YES! 
3) Certainly, the environmental benefits of improving our freeways and freight rail lines by widening and/or upgrading them remain understood by Californian residents.  Widening the I-5, 101 and other freeways, and completing the Alameda Corridor East to allow LA/Long Beach port freight to travel via unhindered rail to the rest of the nation makes sense--these would create union jobs and help our environment just as much as CAHSR. 
The time will come for Governor Brown to "man up" and either confront or compromise in his desire to make the CAHSR a reality.  Perhaps the Governor can "go big" and find ways to focus on more Caltrain, Metrolink and Amtrak betterments to be co-funded as a way to slip in more CAHSR funding at the Sacramento and county levels to please Washington. 
Otherwise, the shellgames and shenanigans surrounding the funding and planning of the CAHSR project will almost certainly end once Governor Brown leaves office. 
And even though Governor Brown won't ever be thrown out of office for the CAHSR project, the project will be run out of town (on a rail, no less!) by a bipartisan collection of both politicians and voters who want to move on to better projects to help the mobility, environment, and economy of California.

(Ken Alpern is a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He is co-chair of the CD11Transportation Advisory Committee and chairs the  nonprofit Transit Coalition, and can be reached at  Alpern@MarVista.org   He also does regular commentary on the Mark Isler Radio Show on AM 870, and co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Mr. Alpern.) 
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b. The drone taking pictures and videotaping a marriage. Multi-tasking drone, video. Copyurighted Olga Lazin 2015



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