On Monday, March 18, the board of the California High-Speed Rail
Authority and an obscure entity known as the California High-Speed
Passenger Train Finance Committee passed resolutions authorizing
California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer to borrow $8.6 billion
through bond sales to fund construction of the California
This $8.6 billion adds to $480 million in bond sales authorized
in 2009 and another $670 million in bond sales authorized in 2011.
Some of this money will be used to build the first segment of the
rail from Madera to Fresno.
Why is this happening? The people of California approved it.
In November 2008, 52.7% of voters (including 78% of voters in
San Francisco) approved Proposition 1A, the “Safe, Reliable
High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century.”
Proposition 1A authorized the state to borrow $9.95 billion for
design, environmental review, land acquisition, and construction by
selling bonds to investors.
These bonds are “general obligation bonds” like the ones sold
for school construction in California. This means the state can
repay the bonds from any revenue source. They are not “revenue… Read More