State officials took quick action following this week's news that Florida's new governor said "no thanks" to $2.4 billion in high-speed rail funds. The Los Angeles Times reports that senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer wrote to transportation secretary Ray LaHood and said California will gladly take the money: "It is now clear that California will lead the way in demonstrating the viability of high-speed rail to the rest of the country," they wrote. Our proposed high-speed rail system received $616 million after Ohio and Wisconsin rejected their high-speed funds following the November election, likely allowing construction on California's line to begin next year and stretch from Fresno to Bakersfield. The LA Times surmises that should California get Florida's money "the segment could be extended west toward San Jose or south toward Palmdale."
The San Jose Mercury-News has a more negative-leaning article that states Florida dropping out of the high-speed game could hurt California because now the Golden State will be mostly alone in lobbying the feds for more money (the other high-speed rail projects are not as advanced as California's or Florida's). And while Florida developed a blueprint for killing a state's high-speed rail plan, a member of the California Labor Federation said California could show the country that it's the only state innovative enough to pull off such an ambitious project: "California has a reputation as a state of visionaries--for good reason," Art Pulaski, executive-secretary-treasurer of the CLF said in a statement.
· Calif. Lobbies for Florida's High-Speed Rail Money [LA Times]
· Calif. Could Feel Ripple From Florida Decision [Mercury-News]
· Calif.'s Reaction to High-Speed Rail Funding [Curbed LA]