“There are people, those critics, who say, ‘Why did we put that one-ton vehicle way over there on Mars. I’m not going over there.’ … And yet that represents an advance of technology, a marvel of human ingenuity and collaboration, most of it coming from California. That spirit is what builds California, and if we’re just going to become an aging nursing home of fearful people, it’s over.”
–Gov. Jerry Brown, defending not only the bullet train but the California way.
The bullet train pulls me in two directions. Stockton’s bankruptcy has cemented my conviction that municipal government should not spend more than it makes, especially if the deficits are structural. The same goes for the state, all the more so because when the state is in the red it plunders cities such as Stockton to reduce its deficits.
But then the bullet train promises economic, transportation and environmental benefits for the Valley. And there’s the California spirit, unbound by tradition, innovative, trendsetting. That’s part of who we are. But that spirit is not a given. It must be affirmed in our works.
One would hope for a way to reconcile the two and build a visionary bullet train in a fiscally responsible manner. But the proposition voters approved included provisions mandating both cheap tickets and no government subsidies. The bullet train pulls itself in two directions. Whether that will be the project’s undoing remains to be seen.
Read the CoCo Times interview with Brown here.