This one isn't really a surprise, since they've been supporters of high speed rail for many years now, but today the San Francisco Chronicle endorsed a Yes vote on Prop 1A:
The passage of Prop. 1A would generate an estimated 160,000 construction-related jobs at a time when the state could use an economic stimulus. But its even greater long-term value to the state will be the economic and environmental benefits of connecting urban centers with growing inland cities that don't have major airports - and providing an alternative to the cattle-call flights between the Bay Area and Southern California.
They're absolutely right - and even understating the case. The long-term value isn't just in providing alternatives to cattle-call flights, nice though that will be. The long-term value comes in providing an alternative to oil, period. Our state's dependence on oil is causing financial and economic havoc. Those who make baseless criticisms of Prop 1A's financing are ignoring the far more risky and damaging impacts of "staying the course" and doing nothing in the face of a climate and energy crisis that is strangling our economy.
The editors had a good response to those fiscal critics:
Opponents have seized on the understandable anxiety about a venture of this magnitude and have questioned everything from its cost projections to ridership estimates to its environmental benefits. In a meeting with our editorial board this week, they suggested the money would be better spent on relieving gridlock on regional roadways.
However, the fiscal safeguards on Prop. 1A were toughened substantially with the Legislature's recent passage of AB3034. It limited the amount of money that could be spent on administration or other items unrelated to construction. Also, construction could not begin on any segment of the project until it was certified that the funding for it had been secured. State funding would account for about half of the project; the balance would come from the federal government and private sources.
HSR deniers want Californians to believe that if this passes that we're going to be DOOMED, doomed I tell ya, especially in our state budget. But the Chronicle points out this is nonsense. If the feds and private enterprise come through as they have consistently indicated they will then we build it and everyone's happy. If they don't come through, we don't build it, no money spent, no harm done.
They close well:
Prop. 1A presents an ambitious vision that is well tailored to the state's transportation and environmental needs. We recommend its passage.
We strongly agree.
Of course, to give the "other side" a chance to get their message across, the Chronicle published an op-ed by longtime HSR denier Richard Tolmach. That deserves its own takedown which will be provided