A Word About This Site

Important Note: This site is designed to be a one stop shopping place for information relevant to the HSR project, the potential impacts to our communities and how to participate in the process. Since this is an all volunteer effort, a lack of funding relegates us to using the freeby sites. With no perfect fit available, this site is being treated like a hybrid blog/website. Like a blog, it is not stagnant, but like a website, information is categorized. Therefore one should not treat it as a blog by always looking for only the latest entry, yet periodically refer back to older posts for updated information. To make it easier, HSR-PREP has a newsletter designed to be used in conjunction with this site. If you wish to be notified of new information appearing on the site, it is recommended that you sign up for the HSR-PREP Newsletter. Another way is to create an RSS link on your homepage.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved. If you have any issues at all with the high speed rail project as it exists, if you say and do nothing, it means you agree 100%. We are all busy in our lives. This cannot be used as an excuse later. If you have issues, you must participate in the process or forever hold your peace. Call, email or write your legislators. It takes 15 minutes using their websites. Participate in the public input opportunities with the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA). But don't wait.
Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

The November 2008 Prop 1a Ballot

The Ballot. In the wake of June 2008's high water mark for gas prices, November's Proposition 1a passed state wide 52/48%. If you relied solely on information provided at the ballot, you might have missed a lot. Here is the complete ballot summary.  Here's the analysis.

The opening statement:
"To provide Californians a safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to driving and high gas prices; to provide good-paying jobs and improve California's economy while reducing air pollution, global warming greenhouse gases, and our dependence on foreign oil, shall $9.95 billion in bonds be issued to establish a clean, efficient high-speed train service linking Southern California, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area, with at least 90 percent of bond funds spent for specific projects, with federal and private matching funds required, all bond funds subject to an independent audit?"

Prop 1a did contain certain voter protections, including those listed below, in the form of State statute AB3034.

"Californians deserve the opportunity to vote on a high speed rail proposition that includes taxpayer protections and financial guidelines," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "With these technical changes, voters can now be assured that if the bond is approved, high speed rail would be built as planned and with fiscal controls ensuring financial accountability."

  • CA taxpayers will not be obligated for more than the bond amount ($9.95B), plus the debt servicing. (this means no matter how much it costs to build, moneys needed beyond this amount must come from other sources.)

  • A complete system shall be built between LA and SF. (this means there has to be a reasonable expectation that the project will not run out of money before completion.)

  • Must operate without subsidy (there is no stipulation that capital costs or debt service need to be included in the equation, and the HSRA is therefore not including them. However, despite this advantage, the HSRA saw the need to include a legally questionable "revenue guarantee" in their 2009 Business Plan in order to attract private money. See the business plan for more information.)

  • Bond money can only be spent if there are matching funds (so far we have $2.25B from the fed if construction starts by 2012, so there is a total of $4.5B available for the CA HSR system to date, $0 if construction does not start on time.)

  • There will be an independent peer review committee (the peer review group is suppose to be made up of eight people. so far there have been 3-5 people.)

  • A revised business plan be produced September 1 before the November 2008 ballot (note: this never happened)

  • Must be capable of travelling between SF and LA in under 2 hours 40 minutes. (The HSRA claims they can do it non-stop in 2:38. With 24 stations planned, not every train will be non-stop.)

The Business Plan required prior to the ballot measure was not produced as required by the law. See this Senate hearing on October 23, 2008. The reason per HSRA board member Quentin Kopp was the state had not approved the state budget in time. Shouldn't this have meant a hold on the bond measure on the part of the legislators AND the HSRA? Instead, both proceeded without being in compliance.

January 28, 2011 Legislators were found to have broken the law by writing the high speed rail bond summary themselves instead of the Attorney General's Office. And yet the bond measure was not revoked. Here is the opening brief by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and an article on the court ruling.