July 6, 2015

California’s building trades building high-speed rail in Fresno.

By Marc Bussanich 

New York, NY—Work is ramping up in the Fresno area as California High Speed Rail Authority contractors conducted the first concrete pour at the Fresno River Viaduct where the first aerial structure is being constructed to connect Northern and Southern California via high-speed rail.

The authority posted numerous photos on its Facebook Page of California building tradesmen and tradeswomen pouring the concrete and welding rebar to construct the nation’s first true high-speed rail network.

While the building trades are hard at work, California Republicans, just like their colleagues in the House of Representatives endlessly trying to overturn ObamaCare, want to stop the trades' work on high-speed rail in its tracks.

According to the Santa Clara Valley Signal, two state legislators are introducing legislation today that calls for a re-vote of the high-speed rail project that Californians first approved in 2008.

The bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Andy Vidak of Hanford, which is in the heart of the Central Valley where opposition to high-speed rail has been strong, said that Californians deserve a re-vote.

“The high-speed rail of today is not what the voters approved in 2008. Californians deserve the right to re-vote on this massive transportation project that could end up costing hundreds of billions of dollars if it is ever completed,” said Sen. Vidak in a statement.

But his colleagues in the state legislature admit there’s no chance the bill will pass because Governor Jerry Brown and the Democrat-controlled Legislature strongly support the project. Republican Assemblyman Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita said he thinks it’s a great idea for Californians having another chance to re-vote on the project vis-à-vis a ballot initiative, but the State Attorney’s Office told the Santa Clara Valley Signal that there have been at least four different ballot initiatives seeking to derail the project since 2012 but none were able to qualify for the ballot.

But Robbie Hunter, president of the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, told LaborPress and the Los Angeles Times that Republicans should be embracing high-speed rail because projects of this magnitude end recessions.

“Unemployment surged as high as 60 percent for us during the economic crisis. Thanks to high-speed rail, now the job market is coming out of a coma,” said Hunter. 


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