Congressional Transportation Committee Debates CA High Speed Rail
The chair of the committee did not mince his words
"The California project appears to be a disaster," said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. "The project seems to be imploding".
Yet the four-hour meeting was largely presided by Central Valley Republican Congressman Jeff Denham, perhaps because only four of the 59-member-committee chose to attend. For the most part, it was a partisan show, not unlike the debates in Sacramento. The Republicans major reservation will undoubtedly be repeated - that "the public shouldn't subsidize an unproven project in which the private sector has not yet invested."
[The HSRA maintains that the private sector will invest after they see the trains in operation].
"We'd love to support it," said Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Atwater, but "my concern is, where's the (other) money going to come from?"
To date, the CA High Speed Rail Authority has secured $3.4 billion for its project - but the well will be dry next year due to Republican House skepticism on Obama's entire HSR program.
From SF Chronicle: California high-speed rail plan panned, praised. The hearing was not entirely partisan, as Democrats have their concerns as well. " Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-Norwalk (Los Angeles County), said her urban constituents need money for mass transit, not pricey intercity trains.
On the Peninsula, where Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, had strongly opposed an early plan to plow new rail lines through neighborhoods, Dan Richard, Gov. Jerry Brown's appointee to the California High-Speed Rail Authority board said the rail authority has accepted suggestions to use existing Caltrain rights of way. " [See Caltrain: Blended System Concept aka 'blended rail'].