Brown's high-speed rail bailout

Published: Tuesday, May. 20, 2014 - 10:05 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, May. 22, 2014 - 9:23 am

Re "Highlights of Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget" (Business, May 13): Gov. Brown's misguided attempts to reconfigure high-speed rail funding bear insidious consequences.

If Brown implements Cap and Trade to pay for HSR, fines paid by the state's worst polluters would virtually bail out High Speed Rail Authority from its self-inflicted predicament: the loss of Proposition IA money. That would leave the authority forever indebted to certain corporations, and it would release it from Proposition IA's fiscal regulations.

The result? A deregulated project, discreetly tied to discredited corporations, violating the public trust embodied in Proposition IA, which HSRA continually disregarded while collecting salaries and spending millions. Cap and Trade misuse would then become the equivalent of money laundering. Moreover, Cap and Trade would be funding a project identified as a 30-year net polluter.

If Cap and Trade jumpstarts HSR, California's rainy day fund could become a safety net for the project, extending the bailout indefinitely.

-- Cherylyn Smith, Fresno

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