California snags another 2/3 BILLION in High-Speed Rail $ – thanx to Loretta, B-Box, DiFi and Arnold!

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As we all know, most of America went ‘Full Retard‘ on Election Day, opting with their flea-sized memories to go right back to the Party that promises more of the Bush-Cheney policies that got us into the mess we’re in now.

But there are silver linings!  For one thing, the new Teabagging Governors of Wisconsin and Ohio, between diaper changes, scuttled their states’ high speed rail projects, rejecting the $1.2 billion of federal stimulus dollars that support them.

And so, mouths agape, heads shaking in dismay, and more in sadness than anger, our forward-thinking California pols – Senators Feinstein and Boxer, both our outgoing and incoming Governors, and our Democratic delegation including Loretta Sanchez – saw an opportunity:  give US that high-speed-rail money those backsliding midwestern states don’t want!

And hell if that gambit didn’t pay off!  The Department of Transportation has just awarded California$624 million in funding out of the amount Wisconsin and Ohio rejected. The rest will go to some other states, but we’ve got the lion’s share. So, if you’re keeping track at home, we have won nearly $4 billion in federal HSR funding in the last 12 months.

Robert Cruickshank fills us in:  “It’s not clear yet what exactly the California HSR Authority will use the money to build, but it will almost certainly go to expand the first construction segment, currently linking Fresno and Hanford. The funding could be enough to get the tracks all the way to Bakersfield or Merced, a good starting point as we seek additional funds to complete the route from San Francisco to Los Angeles.”

Loretta Boasts…

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) today applauded the U.S. Department of Transportation’s decision to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars in high-speed rail funding to California. In November, Rep. Sanchez and other members of the California Delegation sent a series of letters to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood asking that high-speed rail funding refused by other states be sent to California. As a result, the state now has an additional $624 million in funding to help build a world-class high-speed rail line from Anaheim to San Francisco.

“I am thrilled with the Department of Transportation’s excellent decision to make additional funding available for California’s high-speed rail line,” said Rep. Sanchez. “We are now one step closer to making our dreams of cleaner, safer, and more efficient mass transit a reality.”

“As beneficiaries of this funding, California has an obligation to implement its rail plans in the most efficient, effective manner possible,” Rep. Sanchez continued. “That includes linking urban centers, like Anaheim, to other population centers. Investing in Orange County would be a good first step for this ambitious infrastructure project.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, a total of $3.18 billion in federal funding has been approved for the state’s high-speed train proposal so far, the largest amount for any pending rail project in the nation. With matching funds from the state, the amount available for construction is about $5.5 billion.

Orange County has already taken significant steps to make high-speed rail a reality in Southern California. In July, the Federal Transit Administration awarded the City of Anaheim $5 million to help fund the Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC) project. Once completed, ARTIC will accommodate existing bus, rail, and shuttle connections to the Anaheim Resort Area, as well as high-speed trains.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.