My Op-Ed on HSR’s eating everybody’s lunch in the Sac Bee

Viewpoints: High-speed rail: Don’t penalize the poor – Sacramento Opinion – Sacramento Editorial | Sacramento Bee

Nobody gets to say to me that “Oh, these are separate pots of money.” Nobody. Because these aren’t separate pots of taxpayers’ pockets, and it’s not like the state hasn’t proven completely capable of raiding transit funds when it feels like it.

2 thoughts on “My Op-Ed on HSR’s eating everybody’s lunch in the Sac Bee

  1. Wow, the comments on that article are pretty ridiculous. I wonder if you could talk more about your first point, making CAHSR run more like airlines. First of all, airlines don’t seem like the best model to follow–I’d hope we could do a lot better. And if most of the subsidies come from fuel taxes, how does this apply to HSR, which would run on electricity rather than fuel?

  2. Fuel taxes are only a small part of airline finance: with airports and airlines, most of their operating funds come from ticket prices. Capital improvements are financed out of ticket taxes and fees. So airline users foot the bill for a large portion of airline’s operating costs. That’s what I mean. We’re at a decision point with HSR. The low fare put in front of voters made the system seem very affordable: in that case, where lots of people from many different income groups use it, we could make a reasonable argument for revenue guarantees to service (operating subsidies). If the Authority goes with the higher fares and ticket costs, then we lose many of the “public good” rationales for putting money into operating subsidies like revenue guarantees. With the higher fares, the service becomes much more like airline travel, it’s for higher income users who can and should pay more.

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