Wilk's Bill to Shift High-Speed Rail Funds to School Construction Halted in Committee

SACRAMENTO – Yesterday Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, presented Assembly Bill 6 in the Assembly Transportation Committee where the bill was voted down on a straight party line vote of 5-10.

AB 6 would have given voters the chance in November of 2016 to stop the sale of bonds sold for high-speed rail and repurpose up to $8 billion in high-speed rail bonds for the construction and modernization of school facilities.

“The fact of the matter is voters were sold a bill of goods in 2008 and it is not the reality we see today. Proposition 1A promised an entire statewide system at a cost of $33 billion; funding would be evenly divided among state, federal and private; the train would travel at 200 mph; and fares would be around $50 a person. The realities of 2015 are quite different. Costs are projected at $68 billion to $80 billion and that is just the phase one route from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Who knows what the final cost will be,” Wilk stated. “Public support has waned for the project, and many feel tricked by the original projections regarding the build timeline, costs, transit accessibility, and speed estimates.”

David Wolfe of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association came to testify in support of Assembly Bill 6 and echoed Wilk's comments on the need for the bill and on the High-Speed Rail fallacy.

Groups in opposition were CalTrain, California Labor Federation, State Building and Construction Trades Council, LA Metro and a few other groups who are beneficiaries of the California High-Speed Rail Project.

“It is a shame to yet again see party politics prevail over what is really important, like adequate school facilities,” Wilk said. “No one can deny a healthy learning environment is vital for our students' well-being, their education, future job prospects, and our economy.”

Assembly Bill 6 was granted reconsideration and Assemblyman Wilk will be moving forward in a similar direction.