December 1st, 2008
By Catherine Girardeau
Green Right Now
Despite the derailing economy, California voters got on board for reviving train service in their state November 4th by passing state proposition 1A — a $10 million bond to begin construction of a fully electric rail system running 220-mph trains between San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal and Union Station in Los Angeles.
The bond is a vote of confidence from the public and a down payment on the $40 billion-plus project that plans to run high-speed trains from Sacramento to San Diego. The plan’s boosters say it will create jobs, relieve air and highway congestion, and help the state meet its legislative mandate to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
While detractors like the San Diego Union-Tribune’s editorial board said California’s budget woes make spending billions of dollars on a massive transportation project not only ill-advised, but “potentially the biggest boondoggle in California history”, proponents called the victory a landmark for high-speed rail nationwide.