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Obama Throws Cash At High-Speed Train That Could Be Out Of Reach For Many Californians

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Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM

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As Valentine's Day approaches, we're reminded that nothing says I love you like $2.34 billion. That's the amount of cash President Obama announced Thursday for California, most it going to a high-speed train that will run from San Diego to the Bay Area.

We reported recently that the cost of riding the thing has already been projected to nearly double (from $55 one-way to nearly $105), and the first foot of track has not even been laid yet. But that didn't stop the Obama administration from throwing cash at the rail line in the name of creating jobs.

"High-speed rail will bring jobs to California when we need them most, building a sustainable and state-of-the-art transit network,'' Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. "I am grateful to the Obama administration, Sens. (Barbara) Boxer and (Dianne) Feinstein, and our congressional delegation for leveraging the investment we have made in ourselves to turn the economy around."

About $2.25 billion will go the rail line, which is expected to open in 2035. Construction on the first stretch from Anaheim to Los Angeles is expected to break ground soon. The line was approved by statewide voters in 2008, with another $8 billion in funding approved then.

But a San Jose Mercury News opinion column recently asked if voters were hoodwinked given that the cost of traveling on the high-speed train would be out of reach for many of them. "As much fun as high-speed trains are to ride, they would probably never be affordable for vast numbers of Californians," Thomas D. Elias wrote.

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