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Friday, October 7, 2011

Obama's Ouster Would Serve HSR Foes

It's been an instructive phenomenon to watch. Traditionally left-leaning folks along the Peninsula are becoming increasingly unhappy with President Obama because of his strong support for high-speed rail. Liberals who are fighting the high-speed train in California, primarily for environmental and esthetic reasons, are conflicted because their president is a staunch defender of the increasingly dubious program. What to do? As they argue against the plan, which has been panned by a number of highly-respected analysts who have concluded that it would be a financial disaster for the state, they fully understand that they are fighting with a White House they helped to elect in 2008. That was the same election that brought us Proposition 1A which provided just under $10 billion in state bond seed money for the high-speed rail system. Today, estimates of a full build-out of that effort run from about five times that amount to well over 15 times. And the projections continue to escalate. Federal money is key. Without huge infusions of cash from the federal till, the high-speed setup will go nowhere. For the anti-HSR people, Obama and his minions are vital fiscal enablers. So, if logic is any guide, it would be in their best interests if Obama were ousted from office in November 2012. They are relying on conservative Republicans, especially in the House, to thwart moves to fund HSR. Suddenly, pols on the right are the new best friends of the recently-re-branded "progressives." Ironies abound. It's a real conundrum for them.

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