Can California afford to build its proposed high speed rail between San Francisco and Los Angeles? More and more voters in the state are saying no, according to a survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times that came our last month. Many Californians are feeling “buyer’s remorse” over the proposed project, which has doubled in cost to almost $68 billion since the bond issue was put to vote in 2008. Considering the state’s ongoing budget crisis, some are wondering if money for the high speed rail would be better served toward funding the state’s strapped education and public sector services.
But Paul Saffo, Chairman of the Samsung Science Board and a highly regarded forecaster and strategist believes the state can and should build the high speed rail. “With the world’s ninth largest economy, we have the resources to do it,” Saffo explained at a recent Commonwealth Club event. “What we don’t have is the political capital and leadership to push it through.”