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Californians Should Get Another Vote on High Speed Rail

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Runner continues that, despite the uncertainty, CHSRA claims that California voters still want to buy this train. At a recent press conference, CHSRA chair and former Democrat Assemblyman Tom Umberg said, "There are some things that do change -- development changes, cost changes. But the will of the California voter, I believe, remains the same today..."

Runner is not sure that is still the case, as much has changed since 2008 -- California’s unemployment rate has risen from single to double digits, the state’s budget has become much, much tighter, and the state's credit rating has been downgraded to the worst of any state in the nation.

Also, the deadly collision of two high speed trains in China earlier this year has prompted new worries about the safety of high speed rail and led to the recall of 54 trains, reduced speed limits and a moratorium on new projects in that country.

Runner adds that renewed concerns about the nation’s debt and overall government spending make the outlook for federal funding far less certain. Congressman Kevin McCarthy has introduced a measure that would freeze federal funding and require a thorough audit of the project. The measure, introduced last month, is being co-sponsored by nine other California congressmen.

Senator Doug LaMalfa plans to introduce legislation putting the high speed rail project back on the ballot. Runner states that California taxpayers should support his effort and urge Governor Jerry Brown, the Legislature and the CHSRA board to do the same.

Runner states that there are other options for improving California’s crumbling transportation infrastructure. The one hundred billion dollars that the high speed rail would cost, or even a smaller part of that cost, could do much to improve the roads, freeways, ports and airports Californians use every day, and Runner concludes that the taxpayers who will foot the bill should make this call.

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