Bring California a Gas-Free Option: High Speed Rail2 min read

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Nothing bums me out like realizing that all the money I spend on gas helps keep oil barrens like ExxonMobil in the black, while contributing to smog and global warming.

One good thing about high-speed rail: No gas. And right now, with gas prices going from costly to scary, that’s no small advantage.

The Legislature is working to strengthen a measure that will be on the ballot this fall, giving voters the opportunity to approve a $10 billion bond to start laying the tracks for high-speed rail to connect California major cities.

Together we’ve taken rail a long way, but that’s no reason to stop now: Ask your Assembly Member to support AB 3034, the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century. The bill has a hearing tomorrow in the Assembly, so please take action today! To take action, click on this link:

Let me tell you a little bit about why I think AB 3034 is important.

If passed, the bill would change the bond to limit the number of train stations that can be built in order to prevent sprawl-inducing stations in undeveloped areas and keep the trip times fast. Additionally, the bill requires that the High Speed Rail Authority also leverages federal, local, and private funding for construction, to ensure that taxpayers are getting the most for their money and the train gets built.

California has a choice to make. With our growing population we have increasing transportation needs, however expanding highways and airports have huge price tags attached. For example, the master plan to expand LAX airport would cost more than $11 billion. Meeting interstate requirements for Highway 99 in the Central Valley and widening to eight lanes would cost between $20 billion and $25 billion. Expanding roads and airports cost us more than just money â?” they also increase our oil dependence, contribute to sprawl, and lead to even more unhealthy pollution.

Check out where you would be able to go on high-speed rail, how long it would take, and how much pollution you would avoid.

And don’t forget to email your Assembly Member today.

Steve Blackledge provides policy and strategic guidance for the state PIRGs, primarily focusing on the issues of health care and consumer protection. Prior to this position, he spent five years as the legislative and policy director for CALPIRG, where his work led to new state-level policy reforms on issues ranging from health care and prescription drug costs, to Enron-style accounting scams, to protecting consumers from privacy invasions and identity theft.

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