Some economic stories that caught our eye this weekend.
Let’s start with the Legislature’s decision to approve spending for the high-speed rail project.
The reaction has been strong, on both sides of the issue. The California Majority Report opined on the winners and losers in this debate. Democrats who were mostly in favor talk about the jobs as Assemblyman Charles Calderon was doing on NBC in Los Angeles this week. The conservatives were less thrilled. The Wall Street Journal blistered the decision in an online article on Monday.
You’ll remember that voters approved this project, but support has been waning, as it has for most additional state spending, ever since. The state will sell $4.5 billion dollar in bonds to build the first 130 miles of rail in the Central Valley. Ultimately, if it is finished, the so-called bullet train will connect San Francisco Bay Area with Los Angeles.
The California Economic Summit Action Plan released early in July was silent on the high-speed rail issue, but was aggressive in finding ways to improve California’s infrastructure. The state has deferred over $750 million in infrastructure spending on water, transportation and other areas. Take a look at the Action Plan which is found right here on our website. We invite you to comment. We’ll be tracking the progress of the seven Signature Initiatives over the coming months and reporting back to you.
Speaking of infrastructure, The Milken Institute has hired a former California state cabinet official, Dale Bonner, as an expert on the topic. Bonner was once head of the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank.
And to get the week off to a good start, there’s some good economic and consumer news came today when for the eighth straight week, prices Californians pay at the pump for gasoline have decreased, to an average of $3.70 gallon. National prices actually crept up a bit last week.