“What I would like to see…is for us to take a position saying not just that we think the current plan does not make sense…but to say what we do need for transportation,” said Councilmember Terry Nagel. “If we could start a plan to have the money reallocated…that would make more sense.”and
"However, Baylock countered that as long as high-speed rail exists, all transit money will go towards it, and a ballot measure would be necessary to unfund the project and redirect funds towards local transit."There have also been other places where really strong transit supporters such as Huffington Post writer Joel Epstein have suggested that the money be reallocated to local transit as well and that HSR should be killed on spot.
After reading the Patch article and remembering the Epstein post I wrote the following tweet:
"Sorry, but defunding HSR won’t make local agencies $10b richer."
My thinking behind this was that while local folks and advocates might feel that killing HSR will benefit local transportation funding, the truth is that the money will just disappear. There won't be a $10B bond measure for local expansion and even if there were it wouldn't come back to the voters for at least another 5 years to a decade, or perhaps even a generation. At 31 I'm becoming acutely aware of the fact that if I live to be as old as my 99 year old Gramma, I'm a third done with my life and would like to spend the next third building things that I will use in my final third.
But in response to my tweet, blogger Market Urbanism tweeted "But it might start a long-overdo convo on costs" and wrote a post on Forbes about how my thinking was wrong because if we lower the costs and fix the construction we can actually build the line faster. In my opinion this ignores political realities about these types of large projects and a little how California is operating at this time. This probably gets us more into the technicals vs politicals discussion that Alon Levy brought up a few months ago, but I feel like we can still have the cost or design discussion without killing the project outright or thinking we can redistribute the funding to local projects. Stephen goes on to admit that the first segment is likely well designed but that folks are rightly spooked about the somewhat vague project funding realities and future possibilities of value engineering. I don't think we should be too worried since these projects have a way of moving along as they should and people like Stephen are always going to be pushing those buttons.
I feel that there are a lot of things that could be fixed or fleshed out about the project. People who know more about these types of issues than me (ie Clem). But also, if we kill the project now, it's dead for a generation. I'm a huge fan of fixing the issues of hand rather than putting them off for a later date.
Now full disclosure, I have a personal stake in this project. My sister and her family live in Bakersfield. I live in San Francisco. I also hate driving I-5. So this project would directly benefit me by getting me there faster and likely more often. Some people think this project is just about San Francisco and LA and that the Central Valley is nowhere. I beg to differ and this is why.