Area residents won’t have to budget for anything more than Fontana taxi rates and gas prices for the time being. The controversial California High Speed Rail Authority is having trouble getting the bullet train project off the ground.
Bumps along the way
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report recently voicing concerns about the project. The report asked legislators to not approve the initiative because authorities have “not made a strong enough case for going forward with the project at this time.”
Although the authorities were able to come up with the more affordable $68 billion high speed rail system, the state is still having trouble coming up with the additional funding needed to get the project started. Recent reports show that the state has yet to raise 50% of the funding needed to build the bullet train system.
The project is also having trouble attracting private investors, a concern to some citizens concerned about where the funding will come from. Some citizens critical of the initiative are squeamish at the thought of having to shell out more to pay higher taxes while the lack of external sources for funding remains an ongoing issue.
Ideas to fund the measure include a cap-and-trade measure. While the business community isn’t too thrilled at the prospect, legislators cite other concerns. Officials caution against the cap-and-trade proposal, citing concerns about the legality of such a measure.
The farming community in the Merced- Fresno areas is already evaluating their legal options. The farmers are concerned about area land rights. It is estimated that anywhere between 1,200 to 1,500 acres will be affected by the planned train route. The land in question will be unavailable for farming, which will cost between $30 million and $50 million. If challenged, the project could be met with costly litigation by the farming community.
Some lawmakers still express concerns over how a project of this magnitude would affect the already sluggish California economy. Concerns over the lack of a funding strategy appear to be a hot topic for California lawmakers. The business plan has come under scrutiny by citizens and lawmakers alike.
Environmental concerns, funding issues, taxpayer resistance, and budgetary implications have dominated the the bullet train discussion for opponents of the project. Despite the widespread criticism, the train system still appears to have substantial support from citizens and lawmakers alike.
Although the status of the high speed rail project is uncertain at the moment, affordable Fontana taxi rates are something area residents can continue to look forward to.