State seeks $4.7-billion light-rail grant
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was joined by several state and local officials Friday at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles to announce California’s application for $4.7 billion in federal money to fund a high-speed rail line.
Schwarzenegger said Californians would match the federal grant dollar for dollar with state and local funds, including money from the high-speed rail bond.
“It’s disgraceful for America to be so far behind in terms of infrastructure,” Schwarzenegger said, referring to international high-speed rail projects. “America must catch up. . . . We need to now have Washington’s help” with this project, he said.
Officials including Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles; Los Angeles City Council members Eric Garcetti and Janice Hahn; Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle; and Dale Bonner, state secretary of business, transportation and housing, were among those who stood alongside the governor to show unity in the application for federal funds and praised the project because they said it would create some 130,000 jobs.
“High-speed rail is going to be a big engine for California’s economy,” Bass said.
Also in attendance were groups from UCLA, USC and Santa Monica College affiliated with the California Public Interest Research Group. They chanted slogans in favor of high-speed rail.
Although many of those at Friday’s news conference spoke of unity in moving forward with the project, one official who did not attend released an opposing statement.
“I support the concept of high-speed rail but believe there should be more than one alternative studied in downtown Los Angeles. Any EIR should include more than one option,” said Los Angeles City Council member Ed Reyes. “That’s why I introduced a resolution last month urging the High Speed Rail Authority to study other possible locations for a downtown rail station.
“I have some serious concerns about how the proposed rail route will impact our neighborhoods, including those along the Los Angeles River. Especially since we have invested more than $80 million to provide new parks at the Cornfield and Taylor Yard,” he said.