WALTERS: This is no way to judge a railroad
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.
It was a joke.
The committee’s chairwoman, Long Beach Democrat Bonnie Lowenthal, beamed as the boss of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, Jeff Morales, emitted bland assurances that the project was proceeding smoothly and tossed a couple of softball questions.
But when Fresno Republican Jim Patterson tried to ask some pointed questions about the project, the first phase of which runs through his city, Lowenthal cut him off, saying it was time to
On Tuesday, more or less the same cast showed up for a two-committee Senate oversight hearing on the bullet train, and it was a more mature event
The state has enough money from a bond issue and a federal grant to build a 131-mile starter line in the San Joaquin Valley
Morales and Dan Richard, the chairman of the rail authority, didn’t have firm answers to DeSaulnier’s questions about financing. Richard said it would be
They and Gov. Jerry Brown’s transportation agency secretary, Brian Kelly, are gently floating the notion of using the cap and trade greenhouse gas emission fees now being extracted from California businesses to build the bullet train that’s supposed to eventually link population centers in both ends of the state.
However, those funds are supposed to be spent on projects that reduce pollution, and the state’s own documents say the bullet train would have little net effect on greenhouse gas emissions.
He and other senators also questioned whether the state could build the bullet train without neglecting other, badly needed transportation work, such as highway reconstruction.
Ultimately, the Senate hearing was no more definitive about whether the bullet train could
But at least the senators staged a real hearing and not a dog-and-pony show.
Dan Walters is a columnist for the