By Opposing High-Speed Rail, Whitman Shows True Colors on Jobs

Billionaire CEO Meg Whitman continued her hypocrisy on jobs yesterday, coming out in opposition to high-speed rail and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it would create. Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei told the Sacramento Bee that Whitman opposes the project because the state can’t “afford” high-speed rail.

So let’s get this straight… the state can’t afford to create hundreds of thousands of good jobs with a project that’s already received significant federal funding and voter approval? This appears to be another example – a particularly egregious one – of Whitman showing her true colors on job creation. In her glossy TV ads, Whitman talks a big game about her compassion for the unemployed. But by opposing high-speed rail, Whitman is showing yet again that she doesn’t really care about the state’s jobless.

California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:

Meg Whitman’s opposition to high-speed rail and the hundreds of thousands of jobs it would create shows how dangerously out of touch she is with the economic realities facing so many California families.

California’s high-speed rail project is precisely the kind of spark our state’s economy needs. Not only would it create good-paying jobs up and down the state, it has the potential to bring manufacturing back to California.

High-speed rail is a no-brainer for California: business, labor, local governments and environmentalists all support the construction of high-speed rail in California for its economic, environmental, business and revenue benefits.

The construction and operation of a high-speed rail system is projected to create 160,000 construction jobs and as many as 450,000 permanent jobs statewide, including in the economically depressed Central Valley.

High-speed rail will make California businesses more competitive, by speeding the movement of goods and people throughout the state, enabling businesses to attract workers, and propelling California tourism.

Voters have already declared their support for high-speed rail, approving Proposition 1A in 2008 for $9.95 billion in bonds to build high-speed rail in California, more than any other state has committed to high-speed rail, and the federal government has already committed more than $2 billion.


It’s shocking that a candidate for Governor could be so detached from the economic hardships facing our state’s families. With one in eight Californians out of work, how can we afford not to invest in the creation of hundreds of thousands of permanent, good new jobs?

Whitman continues to talk about fiscal austerity, which might explain her opposition to high-speed rail, however unreasonable and uninformed her position is. The problem is, Whitman also touts huge tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations, which would bleed the state of billions of dollars every year. The bottom line: Whitman’s perfectly content giving her millionaire friends tax breaks, but when it comes to creating jobs for Californians, she’s staunchly opposed.

That sort of philosophy is not surprising coming from a career corporate executive with close ties to Wall Street. Job slashing to benefit the corporate elite has become the norm in Whitman’s Wall Street culture. But it’s an incredibly dangerous and damaging proposition for California.

At a time when we desperately need to create good jobs, Whitman has shown once again that she’s the absolute wrong choice for California.


Paid for by the California Labor Federation. Not authorized by a candidate or committee controlled by a candidate.