At a town hall style meeting at a Il Piccolo Caffe in downtown Burlingame, State Assemblyman Jerry Hill fielded questions from residents of Burlingame and San Mateo County. Assemblyman Hill (D-San Mateo), representing the 19th district, answered several questions regarding cuts to education and the high speed rail.
Concerned citizens voiced strong concern regarding the high speed rail. Local residents are concerned about the overall cost of the project as well as a construction effort that has been going on for the past year. Others are concerned about the possibility of an above ground rail.
“My concern is to push for a below ground rail, at least until Millbrae,” said Hill. Cities such as San Bruno and South San Francisco have plans for above ground rail already in the works.
A few didn’t see the need for high speed rail down the peninsula corridor at all. A suggestion was made to have the high speed rail stop in San Jose and let passengers use the bullet trains already in place get to San Francisco. Hill responded by saying that the current bullet trains are already at capacity at would not accommodate the extra traffic.
Another topic that garnered strong concern from the attendees was cuts to education. Several teachers who had just been issued pink slips were on hand to question the motivation of a government will continually cut education and keep California ranked near the bottom of per student funding.
Assemblyman Hill addressed proposition 98 as well as the governor’s proposed removal of the fuel tax. The governor’s proposal to convert the fuel tax from a sales tax into an excise tax would reduce the general fund resulting in less money for education. “We are putting in legislation that makes the education system whole, regardless of the direction the governor’s administration chooses to go with the fuel tax,” said Hill.
Hill also addressed the 9.9 billion dollars in maintenance factor payments owed the school system, money the governor’s administration does not believe it owes. “At the end of the day, the schools will receive that money,” vowed Hill.