OCBC Says “Stay the Course” on High Speed Rail

With recent news stories indicating that the OCTA Board was considering taking a “no confidence” vote regarding the entire High Speed Rail program, OCBC joined forces with labor to underscore that an adequate transportation system that can efficiently move goods and people through the LOSSAN corridor is critical to meeting the needs of Orange County’s residents and businesses.

California is faced with the prospect of increased infrastructure demands due to projected population increases that will occur over the next forty years. The existing highway and airport infrastructure is inadequate to meet these demands and the ability to expand them is impractical, too costly or not feasible. However, every project, especially those funded by taxpayer dollars, must withstand the rigor of external review and meet solid economic feasibility.

With regard to the High Speed Rail program and the recently released draft Business Plan in particular, OCBC supports the process that started with the formal Peer Review Group – led by OCTA’s own Will Kempton – and follows with a formal comment letter from the OCTA Board that raises questions and identifies areas of the Business Plan that need more clarification, detail, direction and study.

Since 1991 when Measure M first passed, OCTA has been working to establish, maintain and improve the commuter rail system in Orange County. Over the last 20 years more than $1 billion has been spent on connectivity, safety and capital improvement programs along Orange County’s rail lines, with another $2 billion included in the renewed Measure M to improve overall circulation and mobility throughout the County. Connection to a statewide high speed rail system is part of the comprehensive transportation plan developed by OCTA and endorsed by Orange County voters through Measure M.

The business community sees it as an imperative that Orange County retain its rightful place at the table for discussions about California’s limited transportation resources, especially as it pertains to connecting major employment and economic centers.

A formal comment letter from the OCTA Board that raises questions and identifies areas of the Business Plan that need more clarification and analysis will improve the quality of the ongoing conversation about high speed rail. For more information contact Kate Klimow, Vice President of Government Affairs.

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