Looming Raid on Regional Transit’s Capital Funds to Prop Up Deeply Troubled Streetcar Project

Great news!  Money stolen from the public to finance the choo choo to nowhere is being stolen from them!  In Sacramento there is an effort to get $3.5 million from the High Speed Rail Prop 1A.  But here is the rub—To get the money, Sacramento has to get matching funds from the Feds—and Washington has never given a dime.  Why is this important?

Because NO money form Prop 1A was to be spent before there was matching Federal funds—so all the money the scam called high speed rail has spent, from the bond money, has been illegal.  But, no one seems to care.

“Regional Transit District Board of Directors will discuss a request from proponents of the deeply troubled Sacramento Downtown Riverfront Streetcar Project for $3.5 million. The money would tap RT’s allotment of Prop 1A California High Speed Rail bond money.

Although listed as just an “Informational Update” for the RT Board (Item #8), make no mistake, this is just the first step in carving out money for the cash-starved Streetcar project from R.T.’s $25 million allotment of Prop 1A California High Speed Rail bond funds. The funds were previously approved for use on the Streetcar by the RT board on the express condition that such funds could only be spent if $100 million in matching funds from the Federal Transportation Administration were approved and allocated.”

Sacramento corrupt?  Even the city government has a problem being honest.

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Looming Raid on Regional Transit’s Capital Funds to Prop Up Deeply Troubled Streetcar Project

 

Craig Powell, eye on Sacramento,  9/9/18

At its meeting tomorrow evening (Monday, September 10th, 5:00 p.m.), the Sacramento Regional Transit District Board of Directors will discuss a request from proponents of the deeply troubled Sacramento Downtown Riverfront Streetcar Project for $3.5 million. The money would tap RT’s allotment of Prop 1A California High Speed Rail bond money.

Although listed as just an “Informational Update” for the RT Board (Item #8), make no mistake, this is just the first step in carving out money for the cash-starved Streetcar project from R.T.’s $25 million allotment of Prop 1A California High Speed Rail bond funds. The funds were previously approved for use on the Streetcar by the RT board on the express condition that such funds could only be spent if $100 million in matching funds from the Federal Transportation Administration were approved and allocated.

No such funding has been approved by the FTA. Why? Because the FTA has expressed very serious concerns with numerous aspects of the project. But the project’s failure to overcome this critical financial hurdle isn’t stopping the City of Sacramento, through its representatives on the RT Board, from extending a giant Tin Cup to RT for $3.5 million to keep the project on life support.

Some history: local funding for Sacramento’s share of the Streetcar’s costs was jolted in 2015 when Downtown and Midtown voters rejected Measure B, a tax hike proposal which would have supported $30 million in construction bonds for the project. With this election defeat, Sacramento had a huge funding gap in its Streetcar construction obligation. By hook or by crook, the City leaders coaxed the California Transportation Commission to provide $25 million funding to cover Sacramento’s cash shortage.

The State also promised an additional $30 million of Cap & Trade funds, which raises the obvious question: Why can’t the City of Sacramento raise its share of costs for the Downtown Streetcar Project without groveling to the State for $55 million? Answer: The City’s voters and its own City Council have refused to provide such funding!

The Sacramento Regional Transit District Board of Directors needs to stand firm on its earlier decision in 2017 to deny spending any Proposition 1A funds on the Downtown Riverfront Streetcar Project unless and until the Federal Transportation Administration has clearly and unequivocally approved the project and has line-itemed its funding.

Otherwise, the $3.5 million will likely be wasted on a project that the federal government has become increasingly reluctant to fund. Such waste would deprive RT of capital funds it badly needs to begin replacement of its aging, deteriorating fleet of light rail cars.

If you can, we encourage you to attend tomorrow evening’s RT Board meeting to offer your views on RT’s premature release of Prop 1A funding to the ill-fated Streetcar project. If you wish to contact RT directors on this issue, their names and e-mail addresses may be found here.

You can read the RT staff report on the $3.5 million funding proposal here.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Should not this come under the heading of the Soap Opera called “The Days of our Lives?”

    San Diego continues to subsidize its trolley and struggles to justify it as the number of cars continue to grow. Calif. bought over 2.0 million cars a year for the past 4 years.

    How does this happen? Simple, it is cover-up to prop-up failure.

    The anti car groups continue to promote failure for political correctness. I challenge anyone to compare the “global warming” issue with solar activity. If there is a solid statistical correlation then the Carbon pushers are wrong.

    But remember to prove political correctness based upon folly they have to have projects like this.

    Let the roads crumble, that will justify trolly’s, trains, and buses.

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