This is the latest of a series of columns titled “The Right Stuff” to promote thought and ensure accuracy within political campaigns and issues. Our objective is to promote interest among voters to separate fact from opinion or fiction.
The House of Representatives recently passed House Resolution 4745, which would prevent spending any additional federal funds (tax money) on high-speed rail in California. Our congressman, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, who voted no, has been promoting this project since writing the original California state Senate proposal (Senate Bill 1307) 25 years ago.
Let’s consider why the House passed the funding restriction.
- California voters were promised the total cost would be $45 billion to be shared by state, federal, and private investment. The train would allegedly travel 220 mph and transit Los Angeles to San Francisco in 2.5 hours.
- Cost estimates thereafter increased to $95 billion. They were then reduced to $68 billion by using some existing rail systems that are not capable of high-speed traffic. Ergo, no bullet train time.
- The train would remove 3,500 acres of farm production at an annual cost of $35 million in lost farm revenue and also losses and revenue in associated industries.
- Amtrak has concluded its equipment is incompatible with the high-speed system.
- Union Pacific and several environmental groups have filed lawsuits against the plan.
- Polls of California voters say 52 percent would now vote no and 70 percent want a new vote.
As Garamendi joins other House members in voting to spend our tax dollars, we must be concerned that more than one half of every tax dollar “invested” (spent) is actually borrowed money, adding to the debt burden of our grandchildren.
- The House recently approved HR 3964 that would override an Obama administration decision to limit water to homes, farms and businesses in California’s Central Valley. Garamendi voted against HR 3964 and consequently our food supply. California has water shortages, not for lack of rainfall, but for not building storage facilities to collect that rain. Have our representatives supported that simple solution?
- He voted no on a bill that would require the attorney general to explain any department policy that failed to enforce federal law. Article II of the U.S. Constitution clearly states the requirement to enforce federal law without exception.
- He joined 400 members of Congress in voting to increase the Veterans Affairs budget to $58.7 billion without determining the basic cause of the VA problem. Sadly, Congress often fails to analyze problems while assuming money will cure anything. The millions in annual bonuses awarded for marginal job performance at all levels of VA employees indicate significant management problems.
- He criticized the Supreme Court decision allowing states to implement voter identification. He stated that this makes voting difficult for people of color, people of less means, and students, which suggests he is ignorant of or ignoring facts, e.g., minority voting in Georgia has increased since its voter ID became effective and states that require voter ID provide appropriate ID cards without cost.
- He voted no against holding IRS officer Lois Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify. Does he not want the truth exposed?
We must not continue to elect people who are so out of touch with reality that they want to spend tax dollars we don’t have on projects that are not essential or two decades away.
Spend on bridges, levees and roads that put our people to work. Reduce spending and encourage private investment.
We in the 3rd Congressional District have a choice in November. We need proven responsible leadership. The 3rd District has not received that leadership in recent years.
Jim McCully is a Vacaville resident and member of The Right Stuff Committee, a committee of the Solano County Republican Party. Reach him at [email protected]