Wednesday, November 30, 2011

State Senator George Runner's position on high-speed rail in California

You learn something every day.  In the fall of 2008, before the November elections when the votes were to support Proposition 1A, I participated in writing the ballot measure opposition-response to this proposition.  One of the final, printed versions was signed by State Senator George Runner.  I had forgotten his name until today, when one of my colleagues identified him for me.

He is now saying, in the press release, below, "I told you so." Since I will never be a political candidate, I have no need to use those words.  And, we are not there yet, anyhow.

This project is not over with by a long stretch.  I say this to warn all of us who have worked to bring this nightmare to a close, that despite the recent flurry of news highlighting the deplorable state of HSR as a project in California -- see the latest LAO Report in a prior blog entry here -- "the fat lady still has to sing before this opera is over." 

The State has to take an action.  We are told by State Senator Simitian that he can take no actions until the state budget comes to his attention officially, next spring.  

The Governor cannot take unilateral steps against this project or he allies himself with the three Republican Governors who rejected the available-to-them federal funding for HSR.  Be assured that the Obama political team would give our Jerry a very hard time!  And, he certainly has no interest in losing the $3.3 billion available to him from the FRA.  

Anyhow, here is George Runner's HSR position:
For Immediate Release November 1, 2011 
Contact: Sean Wallentine 916-445-2181
Skyrocketing High Speed Rail Costs
George Runner says, "I told you so.”

As a State Senator, George Runner co-authored and signed the official ballot argument against Proposition 1A, which authorized California’s High Speed Rail project. Runner issued the following statement today in response to the revelation that California’s high speed rail project will cost more than twice as much as originally estimated.

“When Californians narrowly passed Proposition 1A in 2008, they were told the high speed rail project would cost $40 billion dollars to complete. They are now being told it will cost more than twice that amount. I warned in the ballot argument I co-authored against this proposition that costs could skyrocket to almost $100 billion. That’s exactly what is happening and it’s unfortunate that I am able to now say, ‘I told you so.’”

“It’s only fair that the governor and Legislature go back to the voters to see if they want to pay an additional $60 billion for this rail project. Failing to do so would be a breach of contract with California taxpayers. With chronic high unemployment and families and businesses just struggling to survive, it is unfair to assume taxpayers will want to buy the same project for more than twice the price.”

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization. For more information, visit

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