This just in! It's as hot off the press as I can get. Assemblywoman Harkey is the cutting edge of HSR termination efforts, just as Senator LaMalfa is in the Senate of California. Both deserve a big vote of support from those of us who see this project as a major distaster in the making.
Since Senator LaMalfa also is proposing HSR legislation to put the project back on the ballot, I hope that Harkey and LaMalfa will communicate and coordinate with one another from each of their respective Houses in the Legislature.
Not much to comment on here, except to say that she gets it right.
Harkey Introduces Lemon Law for High Speed Spending
•12:30 pm 1/9/12
Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) has introduced AB 1455, which halts state debt funding for the high-speed rail project.
After years of negative reports from analysts and auditors, "recently even the California High Speed Rail Authority's own Peer Review group advised the Legislature and the Governor discontinue funding," according to a news release issued Monday.
"The verdict is clear, it’s time for California to move forward and de-rail this ill-conceived project. Lack of future federal funding, oversight, accountability and inconsistency in route and planning, should sound a strong signal to pull the plug. Our Governor is asking for long-term tax increases, while recommending cuts to education and public safety,” Assemblywoman Harkey said.
"This one project has the potential to double our state's debt and become a huge future drain on our state's budget, while our existing rail and roadway infrastructure is in dire need of repair. California does not need a shiny new heavily subsidized toy with no confirmed ridership, when we have real shovel-ready infrastructure jobs in every community awaiting funding."
Phase I construction costs now estimated at $98-$117 billion; this figure does not include operating costs. AB 1455 makes use of Article XVI of the state constitution, which would allow the Legislature to repeal that portion of the High Speed Rail Bond debt that is not outstanding or contracted, the news release states.
"What may have once seemed a worthy project has been exposed as high speed marketing charade to the sophisticated voters of California. A recent field poll found that by a nearly two-to-one margin, Californians would reject the $9.95 billion bond if again presented with the choice. Over 2,300 voters in my district responded to a survey, with 85 percent voting to repeal the bond. The Legislature would be wise to do their job and stop the financial and real property carnage,” Harkey added.
At a time when our state is de-facto bankrupt and facing crushing deficits for years to come, Harkey asserts that the Legislature cannot afford to spend blindly on such an expensive luxury item. Facing drastic budget cuts, funding such a large non-priority project would likely divert funds from local transportation, and deprive California's schools, social services and public safety of scarce dollars, the release said.
Assemblywoman Harkey represents the 73rd Assembly District in the California Legislature, which includes the communities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Oceanside, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.