DANGER: Small Minds At Work!
OK, to recap . . . the Obama Administration authorized a federal grant of $647 million to the Caltrain commuter railroad in the Bay Area. It runs from San Francisco to San Jose. The grant was to electrify the railroad so Caltrain could get rid of its diesel locomotives and switch over to engines powered by electricity drawn from an overhead wire. This would enable the trains to run at somewhat higher speeds, at less cost to Caltrain (and the taxpayers), and with zero pollution.
But just days ago, Republican members of Congress from California—every one of them—wrote to the brand new Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, and asked her to block the grant until there could be a complete audit of . . . Caltrain? Oh, no, they want an audit of California’s proposed high-speed train linking Los Angeles and San Francisco. A nice . . . long . . . detailed . . . thorough .. . spare-no-expense . . . take-all-the-time-you-want audit.
Get the picture? Republican politicians in California are trying to kill the high-speed rail project.
And Secretary Chao did what they wanted. She blocked the damn grant.
* She did it in spite of the fact that the high speed project is a completely separate issue.
*She did it in spite of the fact that Caltrain had, in good faith, already selected the contractors for the project.
*She did it in spite of the fact that the project would create almost 10,000 jobs.
*She did it in spite of the fact that the project was considered to be the catalyst for the start-up of a new rail car assembly plant with 500 MORE permanent jobs.
In other words, she did it in spite of the facts.
Jim Mathews, President and CEO of NARP, has sent a letter to Secretary Chao supporting federal investment in the Caltrain project. He was direct, to the point, and a hell of a lot nicer than this whole sorry business deserves.
Somehow, some way, this kind of petty, selfish, small-minded, destructive crap has got to stop.
Certainly Mr. Trump himself needs to be made aware of the issues at stake.
NARP’s staff people in Washington have been in contact with the White House. We shall see.