It’s hard to understand what was going through the liberals in the state legislature’s mind when they voted to move $4.7 billion dollars in bond sales for High Speed Rail this week with the passage of SB 1029.  This move demonstrates that the self-proclaimed High Speed Rail Conductor Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani is out of touch with the families struggling to survive in California’s ailing economy.

SB 1029 commits CA taxpayers to High Speed Rail, $330 million per year in debt service for a total of $9.9 billion over the life of the bond. If federal/private funding falls through, California taxpayers are on the hook for $4.7 billion annually in debt service.  At the rate we’re going, conductor Cathleen Galgiani won’t be asking for train tickets, but rather, “Taxes Please.”

The passage of the measure also comes at a time when Democrats passed a budget with trigger cuts to education and we are talking about decreasing the school year by 3 weeks. Are you serious? Again, It is hard to believe we are even having this conversation.

Cathy Grimes of CalWatchdog said it best, “Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton, the mother of all of the high-speed rail bills, said it would take 12 lanes of highway to do what high-speed rail could do.  And she claimed that the state will benefit from all of the tax revenue generated by ‘putting people back to work.’ High-speed rail is a case of spending $10 to make $1, and proof that it is not only a giant lie, Democrats are perpetuating this very expensive lie, and don’t appear to care who knows.”

What’s even more concerning is what’s at risk to our aging transportation system.  High-Speed Rail will not move a single car off the road for more than a decade all while maintenance and upgrades to our highways go unfunded. Over $300 million in fees paid buy truck drivers and commerce to help repair our freeways will now go to pay for High-Speed Rail debt.

We are currently voting on the future of our children and their children and with the state budget containing billions in deficits it’s about setting real priorities, and right now and High Speed Rail should not be a priority for California. Our priority should be getting people back to work in the private sector so that we can start to dream big again in California.

A Valley Farmer for over thirty years, Assemblyman Bill Berryhill has run the successful wine grape growing and harvesting operation he built from the ground up.