Post-session legislative travel season has arrived for California lawmakers, with Assemblyman Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, heading to Spain this week for a high-speed rail study trip alongside business and labor representatives.
Perea has been a strong backer of California’s high-speed rail project, a constant source of controversy in the Central Valley communities along the first stretch of the train’s route. He’ll be spending a week in Spain meeting with officials and studying their existing train system.
“As high-speed rail moves forward in our community, it is essential we look to other areas of the world to build on their success and bring back to the Central Valley tools to effectively implement this major transportation project in Fresno and throughout the state,” Perea said in a statement. “A successful high-speed rail system will bring good paying jobs to the community, while making Fresno more accessible for economic investments.”
Joining Perea will be his father, Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea, the head of the local Building and Construction Trades Council, the president of the Fresno County Economic Development Corporation, and representatives of other businesses and agricultural groups.
Attendees are paying their own way out of private funds while Assemblyman Perea will use campaign funds, his spokeswoman said. Term limits will force Perea out of his Assembly seat at the end of 2016.
Journeys to other countries regularly occupy lawmakers during the months they are not voting on bills. Government transparency advocates are especially critical of jaunts funded by special interest groups but cast a wary eye on any opportunity for business, labor and other interests to enjoy access to officials during travel.