Skip to comments.Rep. Denham: Not 'one more penny' for Calif. high-speed railway
Posted on 01/16/2013 4:32:11 PM PST by jazusamo
The House lawmaker responsible for oversight of the nation's railways promised Wednesday to use his new position to put the brakes on a controversial high-speed railway in his state.
California Rep. Jeff Denham (R) was appointed chairman of the House Transportation Committee's Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials subcommittee Wednesday.
Denham has sought previously to deny federal funding for the proposed California high-speed railway, and he said Wednesday afternoon in an interview with The Hill that he would use his new perch to keep the up roadblock.
"I've obviously taken a very storing position about California high-speed rail and I'm going to continue do so," Denham said. "We'll have the ability to hold hearings, we'll have the rail reauthorization bill and different transportation funding measures. I don't want to see one more penny [go to the California high-speed rail] until they disclose who their private partners are."
The proposed California high-speed rail plan has become a lightning rod for conservatives in Washington and the Golden State. GOP opponents of the proposal, which would link San Francisco, Los Angeles and other major California cities, cite reports that emerged in 2011 that the cost of building the line would increase from $33 billion to $98 billion.
The project has received more than $3 billion from the Obama administration. That's more than any other state included in the presidents vision of a nationwide network of railways that would connect 80 percent of Americans.
The state of California has approved an additional $2.6 billion in state funding for the proposed railway, which would run 220-miles-per-hour trains on an 800-mile route if it is ultimately constructed.
Most of the other large projects in Obama's proposal were shuttered when Republican governors in states like Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin rejected money from the administration. California has proceeded with its rail plans, however, and the state has been awarded some of the rejected money from other states.
Despite his state's Democratic leaders' enthusiasm, Denham sponsored an amendment to the $105 billion transportation bill that was approved by Congress last year to bar any of the money from going to the proposed California railway.
He told The Hill on Wednesday that he would seek to continue the ban in future transportation authorizations.
"I don't believe gas tax money should be going to rail," Denham said.
The California lawmaker, who was elected in 2010, said he would oppose including any money in the forthcoming Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA) for the California railway proposal either. The PRIIA bill, which contains funding for Amtrak and other intercity rail program, is the legislation that emboldened President Obama to include $8 billion in the 2009 economic stimulus package for new high-speed rail construction.
The PRIIA bill is scheduled to expire this year, making it one of the top priorities that will await Denham on the Transportation Committee's rail subcommittee.
Denham said Wednesday that he would believed it would be possible to pass a new rail funding bill this year
"I'm looking forward to bringing all the parties together to move this year and finding a solution that works for the taxpayer," he said.
Transportation industry officials may not see Denham's appointment as act of goodwill on rail funding, however.
"We need a transportation network in this country that is interwoven and properly funded from our waterways to our railways to our runways to our highways. ... We cant be an economic power if were defined by slow passenger trains, eroding bridges, over-crowded transit systems, aging aviation technology, congested highways and ports that are choking the economy," AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Ed Wytkind wrote Wednesday in blog post defending federal funding for high-speed rail.
Wytkind did not specifically mention Denham's appointment to the House subcommittee, but he strongly disagreed with the California Republican's arguments about the necessity of federal funding for the operation of railways.
"America is littered with examples of botched privatization and contracting schemes that left us with reduced wages, weakened health care and pension protections, and eroded or eliminated bargaining rights," Wytkind wrote. "This labor model ensures our [high speed rail] goals will fail miserably."
House Transportation Committee Bill Shuster (R-Calif.) has made comments similar to Denham's about the possibility of finding " common ground " with supporters on a new rail funding bill. The Pennsylvania lawmaker has sought to recalibrate his message on rail funding after contentious fights in the last Congress over a GOP effort to eliminate federal subsidies for Amtrak.
Shuster made no mention of California's high-speed rail plan when he announced Denham's appointment, saying only that the vocal critic of the proposal "has proven himself to be a strong leader on transportation issues."
"I look forward to working with him closely as we tackle our nations pressing transportation challenges, Shuster said in a statement. His leadership will aid the Committee in pursuing an aggressive agenda focused on strengthening and improving Americas rail transportation system and increasing efficiency and accountability.
Shuster has said that he is in favor of high-speed rail in densely populated areas like the Northeast U.S., but he has criticized Obama for supporting the development of new railways in other parts of the country that are more car-dependent, like California.
"This is not about building a railroad, it's about getting the funding. Once California gets the federal funds, they can cancel the project, but still retain the funds, if it is used for "other" transportation projects."
The time was not right to pursue the conversation, but I found the thought to be interesting.
AGENDA 21... WRIT LARGE
I believe your attorney is right on the money.
The only “common ground” one can find with a Socialist/Progressive is to do precisely what he wants.
All the decent people have left Mexifornia.. all thats left..
are looters.... looting each other.. high drama..
-OR- the random alien thats not connected yet..
Any decent people left are either too stupid to leave or
not decent at all, they merely play decent people as a cover..
Kill this boondoggle.
I suggest a book on the topic by a disaffected leftist reporter by the name of Richard Trainor: Paradise Lost?. The bulk of the book is about exactly this sort of big-budget transportation "infrastructure" scam. The essence is a scheme called "pump and dump," wherein the news about these projects bring big stock benefits for the well-connected. DiFi is a big player in this racket because hubby dear sits on a lot of the boards of directors of the construction and development companies looking to cash in on the game. These political whores don't care if the train is ever built. They ride the run on pennny stock when the project is announced, pay off the union bigwigs with an inside tip, and unload it on the pension holders when they're ready to let the bad news drop. That of course lets the taxpayer pick up the tab if the returns fall below their wildly inflated expectations.
If the public employees of this state knew what a racket their unions were, they'd rebel, big time. Which is why Trainor was never able to get a periodical publication to run it.
First, thanks for the tip on the book. I will definitely get that.
Second: In defense of my friend, he actually made the comment, implying there was much more about it then we could get into.
And BEEP you too pal.
I and my families and most of my friends are all Californians, brilliant, happy Californians who love our homes and our friends and our jobs and the natural beauties within this once-incredible and STILL AWESOME land.
True, we are nevertheless disgusted with the liberals in our midst. But stop with your idiotic broad-stroke criticism of all Californians. Makes you sound exceptionally moronic.
“Any decent people left are either too stupid to leave...”
Perhaps you could elucidate on that remark about “decent people”, and “too stupid”.
There are some of us decent people here in California, born here, and with a lifetime of accumulated investment who remain at this time in the course of history because it would be “too stupid” to leave. We’d be throwing away our lives just to leave. THAT WOULD BE “TOO STUPID”.
While working on something and listening to conservative talk radio, I heard that amendments made to the rules on this project stipulate that contractors have to give money to union political slush funds. Yes, our tax dollars will be going to political action funds for unions. Contractors will be limited to no more than 5 non-union members, and the rest of their employees must pay dues to the unions. This whole boondoggle is about enriching unions and furthering their pro-leftist political activities.
GET RID OF THIS LIBERAL CLAP-TRAP WET DREAM!!!
“Any decent people left are either too stupid to leave or
not decent at all, they merely play decent people as a cover..”
Y’know, there are about 4000 Freepers in the California locale.
We aren’t all stupid or indecent.
We all have our reasons to be where we are.
All the California infrastructure money goes to union slush funds, while they SLOWLY get on with it. We have been building the new half of the Bay Bridge for what, 20 years now?
We built the entire GG Bridge in the 1930’s in a couple of years. We had slide rules then. Not even any calculators.
You are so right. When an AFL-CIO big shot like the goon named above speaks out for federal funding you can bet there's tens to hundreds of millions in it for the union thugs.
[ Yknow, there are about 4000 Freepers in the California locale. We arent all stupid or indecent. We all have our reasons to be where we are. ]
Maybe you’re right.. MAYBE NOT..
Free Republic(administration) is located in Mexifornia.. true..
There may be a few isolated “Zones”.. of decency left..
But I could be WRONG... Fresno is looking pretty weak..
The whole State seems to be like a Taco thats fallen to the ground..
That the dogs are eating.. but Berkley(Oakland) and San Fransicko have always been dog dirt.. wormy and mangy..
I was raised in So.Cal... not the same place anymore..
[ Wed be throwing away our lives just to leave. THAT WOULD BE TOO STUPID. ]
Stupid is as stupid does..- Gump..