Thursday, February 2, 2012

What's the alternative for California's High-Speed Rail Project?

We have pounded on this relentlessly.  Education, which has been getting screwed in Sacramento, is the backbone of our economy.  There is a direct correlation between education and productivity in every industrial nation on this planet.

California was once the proud leader in education in the United States, from Kindergarten through High-School, College, and University. No more. And we continue to sink on all ratings.  

It needs to be said yet again. Our most important natural resource is our people. Educating our people is the single most important thing we can do to bolster our ailing economy. 

Education is our sail; high-speed rail will be our anchor.

Invest in our schools
Posted:   02/02/2012 01:05:04 AM PST

Included in the governor's 2012-13 proposed state budget is a section called "Investing in California's Future," which the governor says is intended to lay the foundation for critical investments in California's future. 

I was disappointed to see that the governor's proposed investments in the future include a controversial high-speed rail project that will take years to start and complete, yet did not include a statewide school bond that would put dollars on the street much faster.

Public K-12 school construction is a proven and effective economic stimulus and job creator for California. There is a continued need for state funding to build and modernize these schools. The State Allocation Board's (SAB) unprecedented and successful Priorities in Funding program ensures that school construction begins within 90 days of SAB project funding approval. 

No other industry has a better stimulus success record than school construction.

The School Facility Program's new construction and modernization programs, however, are projected to exhaust their bond authority in February and May, respectively. Many school facility projects remain unfunded, even after they have completed the necessary environmental reviews and acquired all state and local approvals to begin construction. Rather than proposing a new school bond, the governor proposes to ration funding and allow many projects to remain unfunded.

I agree with the governor that investing in California's infrastructure is necessary to ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to succeed as previous generations. I also believe that investing in California's long-term infrastructure is an excellent way to stimulate the economy and create jobs by funding "shovel-ready" projects.

For these reasons, I strongly urge Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders to maintain the state's commitment to providing school facilities by ensuring that investments in California's infrastructure includes schools.

Cathy Allen, chair
Coalition for Adequate School Housing

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