skip to main content

Listen

Read

Watch

Schedules

Programs

Events

Give

Account

Donation Heart Ribbon

Pelosi Praises High-Speed Rail Funding

Credit: Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi speaks at the opening of the new headquarters for the Californian Democratic Party in Sacramento on Monday, June 6, 2014.

California Rep. Nancy Pelosi is praising Democrats in the state Legislature Monday for putting money toward high-speed rail.

Pelosi was in Sacramento for the opening of the new California Democratic Party headquarters. She says the federal government has the money to fund the high-speed rail and now that California is also committing money, a lot of uncertainty about the project has been erased. The state Legislature allocated $250 million to the bullet train in this year’s budget. In future years, 25 percent of cap-and-trade revenues will go toward the train.

An artist's rendering of the high-speed rail.
Enlarge this image

Above: An artist's rendering of the high-speed rail.

Pelosi dismissed Republican opposition to high-speed rail.

“We’ll fight it," she said. "We expect we’ll have the funding for high-speed rail. We’re very pleased with the California budget and the assured stream of revenue.”

But the project has a high profile opponent in the House. Bakersfield Congressman Kevin McCarthy will likely be elected majority leader this week. He’s said he’ll do whatever he can to keep federal money from going to the high-speed rail.

Comments

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 17, 2014 at 8:48 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein’s husband Richard Blum, won the first phase construction contract for California’s high-speed rail.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | June 17, 2014 at 9:24 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

JM, can you cite that please?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Derek'

Derek | June 17, 2014 at 4:20 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

Not building the high-speed rail system would have been far, far more lucrative to the construction industry, because $68.4 billion spent on HSR will move the same number of people as spending $119.0 billion for 4,295 new lane-miles of highway plus $38.6 billion for 115 new airport gates and 4 new runways.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 17, 2014 at 4:39 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

But we don't need the rail. It's a joke, a huge waste of money.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Derek'

Derek | June 17, 2014 at 5:02 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

So you're saying that $68.4 billion is a waste of money when $158 billion can do the same job.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 17, 2014 at 5:48 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

A job that does not need to be done.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Derek'

Derek | June 17, 2014 at 6:50 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

That makes sense. To prevent traffic congestion from increasing without spending the money to widen freeways, all we have to do is set the price of using those freeways at the point where the number of people who want to drive on them equals the amount of space on the freeway. In the same way, auction prices are set just high enough that the number of people who still want the item equals the number of items available.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 18, 2014 at 9:06 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

Derek I do not know many people who drive up to San Francisco all the time. If I ever need to go there, I fly.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 18, 2014 at 10:08 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

"HeadQuarters"?!?

Glad to see public education is paying off for "DemoCrats".

Good lord.

But Congressman Kevin McCarthy is disloyal to California. His JOB is to bring federal dollars back to California! It doesn't matter for what purpose!

Get OUR tax dollars returned to OUR California economy!

Otherwise they'll be spent on bridges to nowhere in Alaska, empty airports in Oklahoma, or for Alabama to promote its "Watermelon Queen".

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Derek'

Derek | June 18, 2014 at 10:23 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

JeanMarc, of course you'll fly from San Diego. But from downtown Los Angeles to downtown San Francisco, why would anybody drive 30-45 minutes to the airport, be there an hour before the flight to check their luggage and go through security, spend an hour and 15 minutes on the flight, spend another 30 minutes deboarding and retrieving luggage, and then another 30-45 minutes getting to downtown San Francisco (total time: 3 hours 45 minutes to 4 hours 15 minutes) when they could instead spend 2 hours 40 minutes on a train?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 18, 2014 at 10:35 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

They would still need to drive to the train station, find parking, go through security, etc.

My point was more about your freeways comment though. Most people do not drive to San Francisco so I don't see why we would need to expand the freeways. I am not sure, but I do not think there are no flights left to SFO. I never have trouble flying there... I just don't see why we need the rail. Is there a problem getting to SFO the way things are right now?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | June 18, 2014 at 11:02 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

This is an environmental issue first and foremost.

Kilograms of CO2 released per passenger mile:

.44 by Car
.24 by Air
.16 by Rail

It is pretty clear.

But...

Is this a politically corrupt, union-bloated project that costs much more than the true cost of construction? You bet!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'Derek'

Derek | June 18, 2014 at 12:09 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

JeanMarc, if you're already in downtown Los Angeles, why would you need to drive to Union Station?

And if our nation's Acela Express high speed rail line doesn't have security, why would California's high speed rail need it?

There are numerous buses and trains that go between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and for a family it's cheaper to drive than to fly. So it would be interesting to see the numbers, if you have them, that support your claim that more people fly that route than take ground transportation.

In any case, as long as California's population keeps increasing, either the price of airline tickets will increase faster than inflation or we're going to have to increase capacity at the airports. As the numbers I've provided above show, that won't be cheap.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 18, 2014 at 12:10 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

Why don't we just let Elon Musk build the hyperloop? It will be cheaper, faster, and better. Oh, the unions sure won't like that...

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | June 18, 2014 at 12:34 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

Since the 1964 Tokyo Olympics (which germinated the Japanese Bullet Trains), billions of passengers have been accommodated without a single fatality.
The California Super Train would stop in the town of Merced. Students at that newly-minted University of California campus town could get off at the beginning of the academic session and get back on after taking their final exams.

And I could get off to take the Mariposa County Bus to Yosemite -- as I do now -- but it'd be much, much faster [getting from (and to) San Diego],

As it is, twice yearly (once before Memorial Day and once after Labor Day)
I take advantage of the California Rail Pass (7 days of travel over a 21-day period for $159). I often visit Sacramento, San Francisco, Mendocino, Chico, Lake Tahoe, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara (I'm not afraid of the average speed of 45 mph). This next time a friend will come with me. One of the great things about Amtrak travel is that one of the two of us can spend time in the observation car (if there is one) or the cafe lounge or elsewhere on the train (just pick up the tag over your seat and transfer it to another seat).
I also saw a two-seater 2Go car on my way to my trolley stop this a.m. -- and I said to myself -- no way could I fit in there!

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | June 18, 2014 at 2:24 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

The Shinkansen bullet train system topped the list of 100 innovative projects, technologies and products that have made a significant contribution to Japan’s well-being, according to a list by the Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation released earlier today (see: Japan Times)..
Shinkansen, which came into service in 1964, was followed by instant ramen noodles, which were mass-produced by Nissin Food Products Company starting in 1958.
Sony Corp.’s Walkman portable music player, launched in 1979, ranked third.
Hybrid vehicles, home-use video game consoles and software, manga and anime, and conveyor-belt sushi restaurants, were also high up on the list.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'dagney'

dagney | June 19, 2014 at 6:57 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

I voted in favor of building the high speed rail with the understanding that it would be between LA and San Francisco, San Francisco and Sacramento, and eventually down to San Diego. Then, after it was approved, they announce the first leg is being built between Bakersfield and Fresno. What?! Who goes to either one of those places? They pulled a switcheroo on us. I did NOT vote for my tax dollars to build anything in the Central Valley. I'm opposed to the location of it, not to the high-speed train itself.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 19, 2014 at 7:37 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

Glad the high speed train is back in the news. I had forgotten about it.

Now that this important step has been taken, I hope we can get follow up reporting. With so much money involved someone needs to see if the funds are used to pad the profits of contractors (ala Haliburton with its no bid contracts),, or saddle taxpayers with unecessary debt, or gouge customers with high fares the way airlines and car rental companies pay out huge dividends to senior management and other stockholders).

I'd like to ride on a "clean" rail. not something corrupt.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'thompsonrichard'

thompsonrichard | June 19, 2014 at 7:49 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

Bakersfield is the next stop after Los Angeles, Dagney. (Merced would be the next stop after Fresno). I left Yosemite Valley in the late afternoon -- transferred to the Amtrak at Merced, transitted Fresno in the late evening (Fresno is the transfer point for Sequoia Nat'l. Park), arrived at Bakersfield Station a few minutes before midnight, changed buses, arrived in Los Angeles at 3:15 a.m., stayed on the same bus, arrived in San Diego at 6 a.m. Building the high speed rail's "minimum operable segment" (a requirement of federal funding guidelines) between Fresno and Bakesfield -- first -- makes sense. Mainly, the trackbed is on level ground, and it is straight. And it is ALREADY THERE. The Eisenhower Interstate Highway System headed for the wide open spaces. Had it been planned with municipalities in mind, Terra Haute would have received as much funding as Illinois. Had it been planned with States in mind, Rhode Island would have received as much money as Wyoming.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'xwagner'

xwagner | June 19, 2014 at 8:40 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

I'm guessing that no one has paid any attention the the NOISE this colossal waste of public fund will generate. There's no where to hide from the noise.

Will Pelosi not be termed out at some point? She and Feinstein are parodies of themselves by this point. How is it they're still in office?

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | June 19, 2014 at 9:29 a.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

xwagner I agree this ridiculous waste of money should never be built, should never have even been considered. The cost is so high it is unbelievable. Their will never be a return on the investment. We will spend tens of billions to build it and hundreds of millions a year just to maintain it. It will never be a money maker for the state.

( | suggest removal )

Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | June 19, 2014 at 6:01 p.m. ― 2 months, 1 week ago

Wow, how cool. Taking a train to Yosemite on the way to San Francisco!

( | suggest removal )