Court to Governator: No Free Ride on Mass Transit

After pilfering $3.6 billion from public transit, Schwarzenegger turns around and asks federal government for $4.7 billion in high-speed rail money

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Oct 2, 2009  |  Updated 1:45 PM PDT
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Court to Governator: No Free Ride on Mass Transit

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With one hand in public transportation's pocket, Schwarzenegger is putting the other in the federal government's.

Facing massive budget deficit, California has had its hand in the public transit till for the last few years, absconding with an estimated $3.6 billion in money set aside for improving train, bus and ferry service.

But a lawsuit from the California Transit Association put a stop to the practice, leaving Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to appeal the decision.

However, that appeal has now failed, meaning the state will have to make good on all that mass transit money even as it faces another $8 to $9 billion deficit next year.

Meanwhile, at a press conference today at San Jose's Diridon Station, Schwarzenegger officially announced the state's petition for $4.7 billion in transportation stimulus spending from the federal government in order to help with the costs of building high-speed rail.

The Obama administration has made a point of promoting bullet trains to link American population centers.

The stimulus request could be doomed by project delays incurred by rich NIMBYs along the proposed route from San Francisco to San Jose, however.

Jackson West wonders how much of that money could have helped local agencies avoid service cuts and price hikes.

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