A King’s County farmer, a Hanford homeowner and the county Board of Supes are trying to press their advantage in federal court and force the High-Speed Rail Administration to rescind all its construction contracts.
They say the first leg of the system should go back to square one because HSR has not complied with the deal it promised voters. Which is true, it hasn’t. Construction was not to proceed until the HSRA identified 100 percent of its funding. They are not even close. Nor were they to proceed until they got environmental clearances for the entire segment, something they have also failed to do.
However, I strongly suspect fiscal probity is not what animates these plaintiffs. Nor environmentalism. They want to kill the project out of conservative aversion to big government and the (not entirely unreasonable) NIMBY impacts on farming and their cities. This latter objection is not something we should dismiss. One day HSR will come up here with its powers of eminent domain. I reserve the right to squawk about it.
I still believe, however, that the fundamental opposition to high-speed rail is to big government itself. As if the bullet train is somehow a violation of constitutional rights or the expression of an abhorrently liberal set of values. Which is ironic, since the bastion of opposition to HSR, south-Valley ag, would not exist without big government’s colossal investment in dams, canals and pumps.
As shown by the recent farm bill, big government is OK with conservative farmers when the welfare goes to them. But when they are called upon to subordinate their interests to the good of the state, the train must be derailed.