California to Feds: You Gonna Keep That High-Speed Rail Money?

(San Francisco–Casey Miner, KALW News) One of the biggest challenges facing California’s high-speed rail effort is the question of funding: Is there going to be enough of it, available over a long enough period of time, to actually see the project through?

When you’re in that kind of  tenuous situation, it always helps to get an unexpected bonus--and that’s what Golden State politicians are banking on. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, as well as outgoing governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, have all written letters to the Department of  Transportation, urging them to reallocate money rejected by the newly-elected leadership of Ohio and Wisconsin, plus anyone else who might want off the high-speed rail… uh… train.  Money quote:

“It is with a certain sense of astonishment that we note recent announcements from some of our gubernatorial colleagues that they are uninterested in federal contributions to their high-speed rail systems. You are more than welcome to redirect that money to California –- where we know how to use it to generate hundreds of thousands of jobs and provide a clean, fast and low-cost way to travel.”

Ultimately, this might not actually be such a bad development for those other states –- the more money California gets, in theory anyway, the more quickly it can get a usable stretch of track up and running. And if it is indeed transformative for the state’s economy, that success might push other states to get on board.