New study shows finances likely to be worse than planned and poll shows voters not happy with high speed rail spending
As more bad news mounts for California’s high speed rail plan, Senator Doug LaMalfa (R- Richvale) continues to push for a re-vote on the project. A new report from California Common Sense found that with expected cost overruns, the revised and smaller project would likely cost over $99 billion. The report also found that California would need to make annual payments of $6.5 billion for the project if the state shoulders the burden alone. That is more than the state currently spends on the California State University, the University of California and state-sponsored childcare combined. The federal transportation bill passed last week prohibits future federal funding for the project, virtually assuring that California alone will carry the costs.
“Costs for high speed rail will continue to rise even as public support plummets,” said Senator LaMalfa. “California doesn’t have the money for this project. We are cutting the school year, releasing violent felons early, and the governor wants to increase taxes on every Californian while spending billions we don’t have on a project citizens don’t want.”
Additionally, a Field Poll released today indicates voters who support Governor Brown’s tax increase are less likely to support the measure if the state continues with high speed rail spending. The poll shows voters support Governor Brown’s taxes 54-38%, but 21% of those who support the tax would oppose if the state uses the money for high speed rail.
“Voters simply aren’t buying the line that we need to cut education and public safety but have ample money for high speed rail, and they’re right not to,” continued LaMalfa. “It seems clear to most voters that these tax increases will pay for high speed rail and other government boondoggles, not education or public safety.”
A vote in the State Senate on $8 billion in high speed rail funding is expected tomorrow. However, the Senate Budget Committee did not schedule a vote on the proposal today, instead holding an informational hearing.
The California Common Sense study may be found here.