…False Promises, Self-Denial, and Public Deception
Almost 20 years have lapsed since California Senate Continuing Resolution 6 (SCR 6) [Note 1] gave birth to the Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission in 1993. The Commission’s mission:
“ (Be it) Resolved that construction commence on a Los Angeles to San Francisco Bay Area High-Speed Ground Transportation Corridor by the year 2000, and that by the year 2020, high-speed ground transportation service be operating between Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay area, the Los Angeles area, the San Bernardino/Riverside area, Orange County, and San Diego.”
And how was this to be paid for? SCR 6 contained the answer.
“(Be it)Resolved that the financing plan include, but not be limited to, all of the following:
(1) Construction, operation, and maintenance by a private entity utilizing private funds.
(2) Use of state general obligation bonds.
(3) Use of revenue bonds backed by incremental increases in gasoline tax to pay principal
and interest, with a schedule for sale of bonds and a schedule for each incremental
gasoline tax increase.
(4) Use of airport funds to the extent that the new network would eliminate the need for
(5) Identification of potential alternative public funding
Yes, the Rhodes Scholars in our Sacramento Legislature would have used new gasoline taxes and existing airport tax receipts to pay for a railroad that was to run on electricity.
To commence construction by the year 2000 and to have the statewide system complete by the year 2020 was certainly a tall order. Fortunately, not much in the way of plans was produced by the Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission. Unfortunately, the same legislator, Judge Quentin Kopp, who penned SCR 6 in 1993 also authored Senate Bill 1420 in 1996; The High Speed Rail Act [Note 2]. This new law terminated the Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission on January 1, 1997 in favor of a new body, the High-Speed Rail Authority (the Authority), which Judge Kopp Continue reading