Assembly Committee Won’t Stop High Speed Rail from Going to Ballot
While I was sitting at the LA County Board of Supervisor's hearing yesterday, another legislative body voted on another measure that would have robbed voters of the right to decide our transportation future. LAist reports, via Politicker, that a Senate bill that would remove Proposition 1, the High Speed Rail Bond Measure, from the ballot was voted down by an Assembly Committee. The measure was doomed to failure anyway, Governor Schwarzenegger is a convert to the benefits of High Speed Rail, but it did allow the bill's sponsor, State Senator Roy Ashburn, another turn in the spotlight. And isn't that what our tax dollars are for...to allow grandstanding politicians as many chances to promote themselves as possible?
The California High Speed Rail Blog believes that Asburn has deeper motives than just grandstanding:
Ashburn's 11th hour objections are irresponsible. As a public servant he ought to have raised these concerns earlier in the year, instead of holding up the very bill that would address his concerns.
But more significantly, Ashburn is using this fear, uncertainty, and doubt strategy to try and kill the project outright. If he merely wanted an improved bond measure, he would have spoken up sooner. Instead he's using these last-minute objections to block AB 3034 - he already delayed past the deadline to alter Prop 1 - in hopes that either the bond will be pulled or the public will turn against a plan he's labeled as inadequate.
Much like Metro's sales tax proposal, High Speed Rail hasn't cleared all of the steps it needs to appear in the proper form on the ballot. As mentioned above, AB3034 that provides stronger language and a business plan for the project, needs to be approved by...actually, the stated deadline has already passed. Let's just say it needs to be approved soon.