Business & Finance homework help
Jerry Brown’s California High-Speed Rail
The High-Speed Rail Project or “Bullet-Train” project here in California was Jerry Brown’s response to President Obama’s commitment to funding high-speed rail projects here in the United States. The first project completed, is located in Japan, between Osaka and Tokyo. Currently, there are trains racing through Italy, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and France at over 150 miles per hour. California’s rail will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles in under 3 hours reaching speeds of over 200 miles per hour. California has been in contact with the Japanese rail authority since 1981 trying to evaluate the idea.
The role of government in this case is many-fold. At the federal level, the High-Speed Rail Development Act was established in 1994. During that same time-frame, the California Legislature tasked the newly created Intercity High-Speed Rail Commission to determine if a project was feasible. After concluding that it was possible, the Legislature created the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The Authority created their first business plan in 2000, and Senate Bill (SB) 1856 (Costa) was passed in 2002, authorizing a $9.95 billion bond measure to finance the project.
A federal partner, The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) ordered and issued more than 2000 Environmental Impact Reports and Statements about the potential impacts of the project statewide.
Proposition 1A, in California’s 2008 election passed, finally approving the bond measure authorized in 2002. California also successfully secured $3.3 billion of the $8 billion available from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Another $1.5 million grant was awarded to the Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board from the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD).
Part of California’s commitment to bring this cost-effective and highly technologically advanced mode of transportation to the public, it has partnered with numerous agencies around the world. This has resulted in one of the largest collection of shared knowledge by experts in the planning, construction, and operations of high-speed rail systems.
California’s high-speed rail project has employed thousands of Californians and has openings for almost 1 million more. However, currently 20% overbudget (now $77 billion) from two years ago, the project faces real challenges. The costs seem to keep rising and the date of completion continues to extend into the future.
The 2018 elections will identify California’s next governor that will ultimately decide the fate of the project. Currently running, two leading GOP candidates are in favor of abandoning the project due to the underestimated costs along with the overestimated benefits. One of the leading Democratic front-runners also has concerns. With the project’s now projected completion date of 2029 and many financial considerations yet to be fulfilled, many are calling for the “plug to be pulled.” Still committed to the project, Governor Brown, in his State of the State address in January, said “Yes, it costs lots of money but it is still cheaper and more convenient than expanding airports and building new freeways to meet the growing demand. It will be fast, quiet and powered by renewable electricity and last for a hundred years.”
In conclusion, I don’t begrudge Governor Schwarzenegger’s interest nor Governor Brown’s commitment to the project in order to bring economic development to California, but it appears that the impact reports and cost estimates were greatly manipulated for the sole purpose without regard to the actual tax burdens that are being imposed on California residents. The outcome of this year’s elections will decide whether we walk away from billions of dollars already spent on the project or we continue down the “proverbial Rabbit-Hole” trying to save a project that may be technologically outdated before it even opens for business.
The following are just a few of the articles and websites I visited to write this study:
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