The Madeleine Brand Show for July 5, 2012

Is high-speed rail losing support in California?

Courtesy California High Speed Rail Authority

A rendering of what a high-speed rail train would look like traversing California's desert.

Will high-speed rail end up putting a bullet in Governor Jerry Brown's initiative to raise taxes? KPCC's Steve Proffitt explains why voters are souring on the idea.

The governor has an initiative on the November ballot that would raise taxes on high-income Californians, and it would also increase sales taxes by a quarter of a cent. Gov. Brown says the additional money is needed so that we don't have to make further cuts in education and public safety. Right now, according to polls, a majority of Californians seem to support this idea, surveys show around 55 percent of voters in support.

This week, the State Senate is set to vote for about $3 billion of funding for the rail program. Gov. Brown supports the funding, but voters don't seem to agree, especially in light of the tax increase.

Despite the hefty price tag, Gov. Brown could be in favor of a high-speed rail network to make his mark on California history. His father, Pat Brown, built the University of California system and the California Aqueduct, and scholars believes Jerry Brown sees the bullet train as another great, transformative idea. It's not clear if the recent poll numbers might make Governor Brown start backing off his support.


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