CALPIRG Rallies Students for Prop. 1A, High Speed Rail

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CALPIRG, one of the most visible supporters of Proposition 1a, which would provide funds for a High Speed Rail service from San Francisco to San Diego, hosted an open forum on the project earlier today at UCLA.  Handing out t-shirts, buttons, signs and other paraphanalia, the forum almost seemed more of a sporting event than transportation forum, as most students were already supporters of the project.

Speaking at the forum were CALPIRG’s Emily Rusch, the Sierra Club’s Darrell Clarke and Alex Pugh of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

Pugh spoke of the economic benefits of building the rail line.  Proponents estimate that construction of the line will create 160,000 construction jobs and 450,000 permanent jobs:

Voting Yes on Proposition 1A this November is about investing in our community to make it a better place to live in the future.  Building high-speed rail will reduce our dependence on expensive oil and reduce traffic congestion.

However, most of the audience was more interested in the environmental and transportation impact of the proposed project.  Clarke told students,

I’m supporting High Speed Rail for California as an alternative to the imported oil that we use to fuel our airplanes and automobiles.  High Speed Rail will replace these trips with cleaner, faster, and electrically powered High Speed Rail.

Clarke’s comments were echoed by Coreen Weintraub, a UCLA graduate from Oakland who wishes that High Speed Rail were already an option for her to visit family and get back to school.

 If we had High Speed Rail now I would use it at least five times a year…(Prop. 1A) is the right choice for California.  We’re a big state.  We have a big economy.  We need a way to get from one part of the state to another quickly without leaving a large carbon footprint.

As I was leaving, CALPIRG staff were shooting interviews for a commercial that will be released next week as part of a statewide day of action for Prop. 1A on October 28.

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