No to ‘defeatists’

Ever since cost estimates for building California’s high-speed rail system took on a more realistic tone last month, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been questioning plans to start construction this fall of the first segment of the project. Last week’s news that the High-Speed Rail Authority’s chief executive and board chairman were stepping down added even more doubt.

So is it time to give up on the California bullet train?

No, it is not. Not by the longest shot.

We applaud Gov. Jerry Brown for his leadership in reforming the authority and for not caving to what he calls “the defeatist crowd” on this issue. We still fully believe Brown and his new team will be fully capable of charting a reasoned path to the build-out of a much-awaited high-speed rail system in the Golden State.

Reminder: California stands to benefit hugely and on multiple levels from an investment in high-speed rail. Among other things, studies clearly show that building this system will save $100 billion that would otherwise be spent on concrete for new freeways and more airports to support the state’s growing population.

“We’re going to build, but we’re not going to be stupid,” said Brown. “We will make mistakes, but we’ll correct them. … We’ve got to think big and not kind of shrink back.”

Amen to that, governor. We’re with you all the way.