The California Alliance for Jobs, a supporter of high-speed rail, is joined by five of California's mayors urging the state legislature to support the high-speed rail project, which would run from Northern California through Gilroy in the Central Valley and down to Las Angeles.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined forces to write a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown and members of the legislature asking them to allocate $2.7 billion in matching 1A funds for the high-speed rail system.
The Alliance and mayors are among a broad group of high-speed rail supporters, including the Fresno and LA Chambers, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Bay Area Council, Orange County Business Council, and the California Black Chamber and Labor.
The letter to Gov. Brown and state legislators is below.
As mayors, we have to balance budgets and make tough decisions. We understand the difficult task the governor and legislature face in negotiating a budget in the coming days. We also know that people in our cities need jobs. We know that we, as a state and country, need to invest in our infrastructure, for both the near-term economic benefits and the long-term competitiveness and quality of life that these investments produce. That is why we are asking the legislature to follow the governor’s lead and fund an unprecedented program of investments in our transportation systems by appropriating Proposition 1A funds.
We have long supported the development of a high-speed rail system in California, as an important tool to fight gridlock on our roads and at our airports. The federal government supports the California system, providing $3.3 billion in initial funding to get the construction underway. If the legislature doesn’t appropriate $2.7 billion in matching 1A funds, that federal investment will be lost.
Prop 1A bonds won’t just start the construction of the country’s first high-speed rail system, but they'll also provide commuters statewide with better transportation systems in the cities and urban areas. By working cooperatively over the last year, state and regional transportation agencies have come together with a new program that will produce benefits earlier and in more places, investing in systems that provide over 950 million transit trips a year. This is just what voters approved in Prop 1A, providing funds both for the statewide system and for local projects. State funds will be leveraged 3 to 1, that is, $4 billion of state 1A funding will generate $12 billion of transportation improvements all over the state, creating tens of thousands of construction jobs in the process.
Moving forward quickly on high-speed rail is not an easy decision, but not all tough decisions are negative ones. They can also be courageous and forward-looking ones. By appropriating 1A funds for a comprehensive statewide rail program, the legislature can put people back to work and keep California moving forward.
Although Gilroy Mayor Al Pinheiro was not involved in the letter, he said the majority of city council members support the high-speed rail.
“Gilroy is certainly supporting the high-speed rail, it’s just a matter of when, where and how much it’s going to cost,” Pinheiro said.
Do you think the state legislature should "follow Gov. Brown's lead" and appropriate $2.7 billion in matching 1A funds for the high-speed rail?