Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
State Sen. Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) is once again speaking truth to the “Runaway Engine that Couldn’t.”
In a recent letter to Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on railroads, Vidak offered testimony on the California high-speed rail project.
He points out a number of factors that equate to a boondoggle of a project. These include cost overruns; exaggerated travel times; business plans doubling as ‘public relation pamphlets;’ and the lack of detail on how the trains will traverse the Tehachapi range.
He also pointed out how the California High-Speed Rail Authority has dangled a “stale carrot” to cities along the route with plans to build a maintenance facility, pitting community against community.
“Is the location for the maintenance hub finally and officially set yet? No, of course not,” according to the letter. “How could the maintenance hub be set with the final route of High Speed Rail still up in the air?”
He said the viaducts and trestles already under construction in the Valley are being referred to locally as the “Stonehenge of Fresno” because they will most likely just sit there for the ages.
“Frankly, the best thing that could happen when Governor Brown is finally forced out of office next year would be to shut down the High Speed Rail Authority, turn over all the equipment and completed work to Amtrak and let them use it to improve existing rail service in the Valley,” he said.
“At least that would plug the money drain and perhaps something useful could come from this after all.”
Say what you will about Sen. Vidak, but he definitely calls them as he sees them.