Meg Whitman Opposes High Speed Rail Progress

Shares opposition with wealthy Atherton neighbors

By Jackson West
|  Wednesday, Oct 6, 2010  |  Updated 7:21 AM PDT
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Meg Whitman Opposes High Speed Rail Progress

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Meg Whitman opposes high-speed rail in California, but are here cocerns based on the state's finances or her own?

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Like her neighbors in the wealthy peninsula suburb of Atherton, former eBay CEO and Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman is opposed to the bond-funded high speed rail project that California voters approved in 2008.

Atherton, along with Belmont, Burlingame, Menlo Park and Palo Alto are opposed to the bullet train, which would connect the state's major popular centers and promises to reduce traffic congestion and offer a faster way between cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles than air travel.

"Meg believes the state cannot afford the costs associated with high-speed rail due to our current fiscal crisis," campaign spokesperson Sarah Pompei told the Sacramento Bee.

However, as the High Speed Rail Blog points out, the costs for the project wouldn't come out of the state's budget, and any delays could jeopardize over $2.2 billion in federal stimulus money.

But is her opposition based on concern for the state budget, or concern for her own property values and those of her wealthy neighbors?

Whitman's campaign attacked Attorney General and Democratic nominee Jerry Brown's populist stance by pointing out that he lives in a $1.8 million home in Oakland, but Whitman doesn't exactly live in more humble fashion.

In fact, according to the latest property assessment records from San Mateo County, Whitman's Atherton mansion is valued at nearly $3.2 million -- up $700,000 from the $2.5 million she paid for it in 1999.

At least, property value concerns would explain why a candidate that touts her technology expertise and promises to create jobs would oppose the massive job creation and technological leap that high-speed rail promises.

Jackson West would rather have a functional high speed rail network than a space program, frankly.

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