In remarks at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last Friday Arnold Schwarzenegger again explained his support for Prop 1A, the $10 billion high speed and passenger rail bond. His speech focused on anti-global warming actions and the economic value of reducing carbon emissions - and why we must continue to do do this even during, especially during, a credit crisis.
There is far more economic opportunity in fighting global warming than economic risk....We shouldn't let the budget crisis hold back good things for the future. 20 years from now you can't look back and say "well they had a budget crisis so we didn't do it." Just because we had a problem with the budget does not mean that people should vote "no" on high speed rail. Our rail system in America is so old, we're driving the same speed as 100 years ago, the same system as 100 years ago. We should modernize, we should do what other countries do...We should start in this state, we should show leadership.
I'm not exactly his biggest fan, but this is the "good" Arnold Schwarzenegger - the one who gets the need to build for the future, who understands that the green economy is going to be at the center of California's future. He spoke strongly against drilling, and noted that oil prices only came down through demand destruction - using more public transportation is the only way to bring down gas prices. (Of course Arnold, does that mean you will stop cutting public transit budgets?!) He even spoke favorably, though cautiously, of Sen. Darrell Steinberg's SB 375 - "I'll look at it carefully" - and its smart growth goals.
You can see the video yourself here - scroll to 26:50 for the Prop 1A discussion. (Couldn't get the embed to work for some odd reason.)
Let's hope Arnold takes this message around the state and help get Prop 1A passed.
The Commonwealth Club is also hosting a Prop 1A debate this Friday between Quentin Kopp , chairman of the board of the California High Speed Rail Authority, and Jon Coupal, head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Former US Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta will moderate.