Guest column: Redirect high-speed rail funds to road upgrades

By Brian Maienschein, State Assemblymember

As Californians, we waste countless hours stuck in traffic, spending less quality time with our families and spending more on our gas bills. Throughout our state, vital infrastructure such as highways, bridges and ports continue to deteriorate.

Yet some in Sacramento remain focused on building a highly controversial high-speed rail project from Bakersfield to Fresno that the governor now estimates could cost as much as $80 billion and bring little tangible benefit to a majority of Californians. We can do better — much better.

That is why I have co-authored a “California Jobs First” proposal to fund vital transportation needs in communities throughout the state. This plan would ask voters like you to decide whether we should reallocate funds from high-speed rail to more pressing needs. If approved, the plan would result in $11 billion in one-time funds and $2.4 billion annually for infrastructure.

The plan would help us rebuild California — creating an estimated 108,000 new jobs statewide and growing the economy by up to $140 billion. It would also help save our state from becoming mired in the black hole of high-speed rail.

Under California Jobs First, unmet transportation needs of $10.8 billion in San Diego would be eligible to receive both short- and long-term funding. Projects such as the completion of the HOV lanes on I-15, and improving the I-5/SR-56 interchange would go a long way toward creating the construction jobs that will revitalize our local economy and reduce traffic congestion.

These funds could also be used to improve safety on our local highways. With these monies, Caltrans would be able to develop a new safety plan to prevent accidents on highways like SR-56. Using these funds to modernize our infrastructure now would help save families’ time and money in the long run.

I will continue to work to improve our state’s infrastructure and redirect the billions of dollars being wasted on the Bakersfield-to-Fresno high-speed rail project to provide funding for projects that benefit my community.

Maienschein, R-San Diego, represents the 77th Assembly District, which includes Poway, Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch.

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Posted by Staff on Feb 26 2014. Filed under Editorial, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

9 Comments for “Guest column: Redirect high-speed rail funds to road upgrades”

  1. Guest

    Thank you, Brian.

  2. Guest

    California voters passed a proposition to fund a high speed rail system. Now here's a politician who wants to divert the money for other uses.

    I don't thing that the state legislature can legally do what our rookie assemblyman is proposing, and he probably knows it. This is just cynical grandstanding, and when his ill-conceived bill gets thrown out he will use its defeat as an excuse to rail against the Democrats.

    • Joe St. Lucas

      Those who voted for the rail system were told it would come to San Diego. It's not, so breach of contract?

      • Guest

        I'm puzzled by your remarks because all the maps I have found include San Diego in the system. Can you point me to some credible information that shows that San Diego is going to be excluded? Thanks

        • Joe St. Lucas

          The initial plans were to come all the way to San Diego but the SD line was deleted a while back. Since the chieftain won't let me post links, go to utsandiego dot com and search for the AP story Oct 20, 2013 titled "Facts about California's high-speed rail plan", where there's a statement "There are currently no plans to link the train lines to Sacramento or San Diego."

          • Tom Yarnall

            Joe, quoting Editor Dreyer, " from time to time we'll let one go if we're sure of its origin" Not sure what that means, but you obviously don't qualify, as did a non Poway resident, Marilee Boyack, who was allowed to post the campaign headquarter.s link for a local candidate. Is the paper showing bias without having to state it?

  3. DA truf

    125+mph trainsets already awarded and 225+ mph electric trainsets soon to come, good jobs are now being created in the Midwest and California. The US can finally pull itself up from the bootstraps after trillions were wasted on unnecessary wars and as we embark on a new age of transportation and job creation.

  4. DA truf

    Full steam ahead: CHSRA requires operation at speeds of a minimum of 200 mph (324 kph), similar to what Amtrak expects it will need to realize its “Vision for High-Speed Rail” on the NEC. CHSRA is seeking an initial order of 15 trainsets with a minimum of 450 seats that can meet its planned trip-time requirements for service from the San Francisco Bay Area to Los Angeles on what is planned as mostly new infrastructure.

    Amtrak is seeking up to 28 high speed trainsets, each with between 400 and 450 seats, that can meet or exceed current Acela Express trip-times on the existing NEC infrastructure between Washington, New York, and Boston. Only current manufacturers of high speed rail equipment, which Amtrak and CHSRA define as “manufacturers with equipment in commercial operation at high speeds for at least two years,” will be eligible to submit a bid. Proposals are due May 17, 2014. A builder is expected to be selected by year-end 2014.

  5. RMM

    The money that was set aside by the high speed rail bonds should not be able to be used for any other purpose. If they are not going to use it for high speed rail, it should be returned to the taxpayers. If you want to put an infrastructure package on the ballot, that's great, but this is not that and should not be used for that.

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