Sen. Harry Reid: Save California’s high-speed rail project
August 11, 2011
As concern grows over costs for a high-speed rail system in California, and amid talk of scrapping the project, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that abandoning the multi-million dollar venture would be “short sighted.” [San Francisco Chronicle]
Speaking on a conference call on clean energy Wednesday, Reid said the rail system would be good for the economy and national security, and that the cost of doing nothing should be considered as well as the price of building the 800-mile system linking the San Francisco Bay Area, the Central Valley and Southern California.
“Our country is so short sighted — our highways are jammed — and we are spending so much wasted money hauling people in airplanes for 300 miles or less, which is terribly inefficient,” he said. “I am a big, big fan of high-speed rail, you have to look at things other than the raw numbers of how much it costs. How much does it save?
“If you could take a train from Sacramento to L.A. to San Diego, that would be wonderful, instead of the inefficient San Francisco to Los Angeles flights that happen every day,” he went on. “It would be so short-sighted to walk away from the bonding capacity — you have $10 or $12 billion in bonds —because of costs.”
California voters authorized $9 billion in bonds for the project in 2008, and the federal government has given the state $3.5 billion in grant funds. The project will cost more than $40 billion.