In 2004 a provision was set to go before California voters that would create a high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles. That provision was delayed until 2006 and then again to 2008 where voters passed the initiative 52.6% to 47.4%. The initiative earmarked $9.95 billion for the high-speed rail project. Construction began this year on the Merced to Bakersfield portion (the first) in what now looks to be a $60+ billion project (the entire annual state budget is roughly $165 billion, according to CAfwd.org).
I’m not here to argue for the rail system or against it, the problem is how will the state government fund it? And therein lies the crux of some of the features within the House’s STRR Act and the Senate’s DRIVE Act.
Aaron Huff, of the Commercial Carriers Journal, reported Friday that FMCSA is overwhelmed by some of the projects or proposals that will become their responsibility should they become law. And in fact the House’s version caps their funding for the next 6 years.
There are so many good ideas out there and there probably an equal number of problems. But our tax dollars simply cannot be stretched enough to implement them all and/or solve them all. And sometimes voters (whether mere citizens or elected officials) forget our fiscal limitations and vote for ideas merely because they sound like good ideas.
Let’s make sure we keep that in mind as it is a lot easier to criticize a government organization than it is to see things through their perspective.
Thanks for reading.