Bullet train project actually on track
Re “Bullet train likely to miss budget, deadline targets” (Page 3A, Oct. 25): A recent report on the California high-speed rail gave readers a dramatic but false impression of where our program stands in terms of costs and technical hurdles. In truth, we are making steady progress. Work is underway on the over 100-mile rail segment in the Central Valley, with over $2 billion in construction contracts executed. Drive along Highway 99 and you will see crews.
Although the article had extensive speculation about potential future cost growth, it omitted that the first construction contracts have come in hundreds of millions of dollars below estimates. The article also makes it seem as though no one has thought about the challenge of tunneling through mountain ranges. On the contrary, we have brought in some of the world’s leading tunneling experts and they’re confident of our ability to construct the needed tunnels.
Any infrastructure investment of this size will face risks associated with cost and schedules. To that end, we’ve employed the most advanced risk management strategies available. This approach has resulted in lower costs and faster timelines.
There will be bumps along the way, for sure, and we will be forthright about the difficulties, but the article stands in stark contrast to the progress we’re making.
Jeff Morales, chief executive officer, California High-Speed Rail Authority
Health warnings for meat too vague
Re “WHO panel links processed meats to cancer cases” (Page 10A, Oct. 27): It doesn’t help to broadly condemn all processed meats when we are not informed as to which specific ingredients cause cancer.
We’ve been warned for some time about nitrites in processed foods and, in response, many companies have come out with nitrite- and other preservative-free products. Are these safe? I choose them when I infrequently buy processed meats. People will just ignore such broad proclamations when there is no real data to back them up.
Lorraine Gervais, Sacramento
What’s the point of saving water?
Re “On the Peninsula and rolling in it” (California Traveler, Oct. 25): After reading Sam McManis’s article about the Filoli estate in Woodside, I asked myself: “What’s the point?”
We haven’t watered our back lawn in two years. We only flush when necessary, and save shower and sink water for our plants and trees. The minuscule amount of water that this saves is nothing compared with the “50,000 to 75,000 gallons of water a day” used by this estate. But I guess that’s the point. If enough 99 percenters let their lawns die and reduce flushing, the 1 percenters won’t have to.
Cathy Grinsead, Carmichael
More is needed to fix criminal justice
Re “Momentum builds for justice reform” (Editorials, Oct. 23): Justice reform? We have too many criminals, and too many are locked up. The answer is to release them and they will be rehabilitated afterward with special programs.
The theory may be correct, but the implementation is always wrong. All that is accomplished is shifting the responsibility without the necessary resources. Oh, resources are promised, but somehow they never materialize. Ex-offenders will be put back on the street, left to repeat the past or worse. What choice do they have? Until the rehabilitation programs are set up, no one should be released. Justice for none.
Bill Jurkovich, Citrus Heights
Vicious cycle of minimum wage
Re “Minimum-wage hike backers hunt for deal” (Page 3A, Oct. 27): Historically, minimum wage was used for young people just entering the work place. Today, older people that have minimal skills are demanding minimum wage to be a living wage.
When the minimum wage is increased, all hourly and salaried pay levels increase, too. Additionally, rent, food, medical, utilities, goods and services rise. Minimum wage then becomes an unlivable wage again and again. At some point, the question becomes, “What is an unskilled job worth?” Without education or training, huge wage increases won’t accomplish what proponents want. It just becomes a vicious cycle that puts an economic burden on everyone.
John Hightower, Orangevale
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