“Dam Train” Billboard Campaign on Highway 99 Highlights California High-Speed Rail Project as Mistaken Priority; Sparks New Debate

Those traveling north or south along Highway 99 in Fresno County will see two billboards (with more to come) questioning the current priority of California’s government to build a $68 billion high-speed rail system from San Francisco to Los Angeles while San Joaquin Valley agriculture staggers from the effects of a multi-year drought.

Put up in May 2015, the billboards suggest that a “Dam” for water storage might be a more important priority for the state at this time than the government’s current priority of a “Train.”

The campaign is called “DamTrain” and describes itself as “a project by Fresno City Councilman Steve Brandau and the Taxpayers Association of Central California.” The project’s message: “Our water is more valuable than that train, and DamTrain exists to get this message to our leaders.”

Website for DamTrain is http://www.damtrain.com

The website for DamTrain is http://www.damtrain.com

Many ordinary Californians who added their names to the DamTrain website in support of water infrastructure versus transportation infrastructure have added their views to the debate of what our state government should prioritize. No word yet if Governor Jerry Brown has read these comments, but if he ever stumbles across the “DamTrain” website, he’ll see these:

Comments on the DamTrain.com Website

▪   We need water, we already have transportation.
   Get your priorities straight!! Spend our tax dollars on a dam, not a damn train!!!
   Who will benefit from increased water storage? All Californians. Who will benefit from the unnecessary bullet train? A small fraction of our population. Governor Brown – you do the math.
   Thank you for investing your time and funds into this very important topic for ALL of California.
   We can build a train any time. We need water NOW! Please build a dam.
   I really hope this helps change some minds.  #ILoveToEat  #WeNeedWater
   Yo hell w train we need water.
   We can live without a train. WE CAN”T LIVE WITHOUT WATER.
   We don’t need a Choo-Choo!! We need water storage / new dams!!
   Conservation is band-aid on a gunshot wound. It has only resulted in a power grab by the State Water Board and others in Sacramento. We blame our neighbors when we should be blaming Sacramento politicians. Increased storage is the only way Califonia will survive and prosper.
   Governor Brown’s priorities are in the wrong place. We do not need high speed rail!! Our valley needs water storage solutions.
   Water is a necessity of life and we are running out of it and patience. High speed rail has been a useless money pit since it began. Very simply water is more important and at this rate probably anything will be cheaper for the taxpayers than high speed rail.
   We need leaders that can look out for the people. Let’s get this done NOW!!!
   Humans need water to drink, to bathe. Farmers can’t grow foodstuffs without water. A “train to nowhere” over the protests of California’s citizenry is unacceptable. We need water to live! We don’t need or want a massive pork project at the expense of our very lives and livelihoods.
   WASTE OF MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WILL NOT BE USED…WILL TAKE SO LONG TO BUILD THE MONEY SPENT WILL KILL CALIFORNIA…WHICH IS ALREADY THE WORST STATE. THIS IS WHY MORE & MORE PEOPLE WANT TO MOVE OUT OF CALIFORNIA.
   IT WILL TOTALLY RUIN OUR FARM LAND AND ONE WILL USE IT…ANOTHER PLAN MADE BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE. MONEY DOWN THE TUBES…
   If we can build pipelines to move oil, why not WATER and not a faster train which will kill how many when it derails.
   This has been a problem since the 70s as far as I can remember. Get your priorities straight before you completely kill this state.
   We need water not another government subsidized toy!
   I live in a farm community and own a farm. We need water more than we need high speed rail. Putting our tax dollars into getting water to the farming communities would be money well spent.
   WATER for HUMANS first…NO to the high speed sludge fund. If a high speed train is needed, it should be PRIVATELY funded. THIS is NOT a good use or correct use of TAXPAYER money.
   The water crisis should be the priority! We NEED water, we don’t need this train. Please help!!
   We can live without a train to nowhere. We cannot live without water.
   Stuff your ^@#$ for your Union bedmates with your train…go buy one on ebay or amazon, and GIVE US BACK OUR, REPEAT OUR, WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   We need water more than we need the high speed rail!
   Water is much more of a priority over that of a speed train to nowhere. Time to listen to the people of California Gov. Brown and stop brown nosing the big business lobbyists. Water is necessary for life and food.
   The train is a waste of money California doesn’t have. It also steals property from families! California needs water not a damn train!
   We all need water, not a High Speed Rail to support and subsidize like Amtrak. People first.
   The majority of people living in Calif. WILL NOT use the train. BUT all people need the water and the money being wasted on this train can be more than enough to help with building dams and etc. needed for storage of water. What is the matter with our elected officials that they can’t use their god given common sense?
   Save California and the crops it produces for the country!!
   Reroute funding for the unnecessary bullet train and put it where it’ll actually matter.
   This nightmare train to nowhere is officially the biggest debacle I ever seen. Gov. Brown is pushing an unnecessary legacy that no one wants. You lied about its destinations, its speed, its price and have said nothing about its subsidies. It will never be profitable.
   That we have not started to build more dams amazes me. That we are emptying dams amazes me even more.
   No one will ride it. It will only be a useless burden on the taxpayer. There are over 14,000 Desalination Plants in the world. We need at least 3 dozen in California and we need to stop letting precious rain water run out to sea every year.
   It is time to focus on the paramount issues in California – the “bullet train” is not one of those. This is simply a liberal boondoggle to unions and waste of taxpayers’ money. Focus on the issues that really affect our ability to provide growth and sutainable jobs – water. Without adequate water for our population there will be no growth – period.
   We can’t wait for the water board to start thinking about this in 2017 – the crisis is NOW!
   What happened to saving land and people and doing the RIGHT THING Governor Brown? We don’t need the train, WE NEED WATER!
   If we want food on our table, water is what will do that, not that train.
   Thank you Steve Brandau for stepping up for Californians to do the right thing…stop the train by putting water ahead of Mr. Jerry Brown’s personal agenda!
   This train is a boondoggle and needs to be cancelled. Build water storage instead!!!  DUH!!
   Please put the money toward water distribution solutions to the California citizens!
   Need water, not damn train, waste of money.
   A train that will cost money over a source we really need in the valley…Shaking my head at you Brown! We need WATER!!!
   California is broke and we need water storage. NO TRAIN before water…
   Water projects help all Californians, HSR will not solve any problems and will only benefit a small part of our population and require permanent subsidy. Please fix our water problems first.
   LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE STOP THE DAMN TRAIN.
   Water storage should be your number one priority. Water rationing now will not solve this problem. Failure to build adequate water storage immediately sentences the citizens of this state to increasing misery and destruction of our incredible agriculture system.
   We are the bread basket of this nation. Farming is a vital part of our state. It’s time to realize this train benefits no one except Los Angeles and San Francisco. When are we going to stop hand holding these cities? They get our water, they contribute the majority of our pollution, their liberal ideas govern the rest of us and now we want to waste billions to make sure they aren’t inconvenienced travelling. Wake up California, it’s time to take our state back and stop driving everyone out. make California the place you want to live not the place you can’t wait to leave.
   Cannot build the train with money they have! But would go a long way to helping the water situation for all, not the few train riders.
   Stop the train. Solve the water issue.
   We need Dams and Reservoirs, not a High Speed Rail System!
   Total waste of money when the real critical need is in water storage for the state. Would like to have seen the money that has already been spent on the train on repairing our water ways and building new dams for water storage.
   We don’t need a high speed rail, water is and the ability to store it is the single most important item we should be dealing with.
   Do your job, use common sense, without water we will not have a State for that crazy train to travel.
   Quit lining your pockets from special interests and do what is right for California and the American people.
   It’s time for common sense to return to California government. It can be your legacy, not the bullet train.
   What good is a train if everyone moves away from lack of water?
   Stop that train…I can’t believe it has gotten as far as it has. What are Californians thinking?!?!?
   Simple…We can live without the train…We cannot live without Water…
   Dams aren’t sexy like bullet trains. A dam makes it hard to politically reward your supporters, supporters that are concentrated in voter block metropolises and believe their green lawns are a miracle of the faucet.
   More Water…if the Train is economically feasible let it be built with private capital…please give more consideration and leadership to the need for more water in California…and thanks for your public service to our Great State.
   We need to build Dams not bullet trains.
   We need water not a train that nobody will use.
   Water is our livelihood in California. Without it people and business will move!
   I don’t have much faith that Brown will actually listen because he’s proven already he doesn’t really care what the people of California want but it would be nice to have some accountability for his lack of leadership or ability / desire to save this state before it dries up, goes Bankrupt and blows away.
   This water issue may wake up California sleeping majority! God bless you Steve Brandau, God save California!!!
   Governor, stop the train! In case you’ve forgotten you work for the people and we are tired of you serving your special interest cronies and disregarding the rest of us! We don’t want your train, it’s a waste of my money!
   Cancel the train and get the Dam built.
   It’s not about water, it’s about power and money.
   The state needs more water infrastructure rather than a train to no where, that no one will ride!!! Spend our tax dollars on infrastructure that will insure our future, not destroy it!!! The money spent on the San Joaquin River restoration is a joke!!! Take that money and help build Temperance Flat Dam, that will help all of the San Joaquin Valley economy!!!!
   We are in desperate need of water and yet you continue to waste money on a train that no one but you wants. The enormous fortune you are spending on this train could do so much for not only our valley but for all of the people in California. Without water where is our food, our jobs going to come from? How many people will move out of California because of its lack of water for farms, orchards, groves? Farmers are tearing out tree after tree and getting rid of cow after cow, people’s wells are going dry because of the water situtation, how long do you think we can go on?
   It’s time the people of California realize the only benefit of the “bullet train” is to line the pockets of politicians and other favored groups. Elected officials are supposed to lead and it’s a damn shame none of them have realized the need for infrastructure of our water system in this desert area with no water projects since 1970.
   ^@#$ the train we can’t ride it if we have to spend all our money for foreign veggies…we can’t ride if we die of thirst.
   Our water well went dry last July / we have to drill but we don’t know if there’s any water to drill for us…
   We do not “need” a high speed rail system anywhere in California. We do need long term solutions to the current and future drought(s).
   Desalination is the answer! Leave the crazy train to Ozzy!
   Dear Governor Brown, Please stop wasting money on wants, and start spending money on needs.
   California’s High Speed Rail was presented to the voters of California in 2008 as a train that was to run down the I-5 or Highway 99 corridor. I for one voted for this alignment on voting day but now we are told it is to veer off of the alignment into farmland and housing in the Madera area which will impact my home now. This means that I have voted to have my house demolished for an overpass for this train. This is not what my vote was intended for, much like a lot of others in the Valley. Issues like these are items that need to be addressed. I personally would like my vote back along with the happiness that was in my heart before hearing of my home’s demise. Please do not allow the train to nowhere.
   We don’t need to spent money on a train that go nowhere, while we are in need of dam to store water so we can live.
   We need the train like we need another year of drought…
   No train is also a water issue. If the train brings more here then we will need much more storage great job Steve Brandau.
   We need the water! Not the train that will just be a money pit! California leadership is failing the valley and Californians!
   We need water not a train!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
   Good governance requires sufficient flexibility to take action and to protect society in times of crisis.
   Build DAMS not trains to nowhere.
   WATER SHOULD BE THE PRIORITY!  WTF ARE YOU THINKING?
   I also hope that as you move forward to repair our levy system and repair and/or build new dams, please abandon your plans for the high speed rail. If you want people to remember you in a positive way, help us – don’t hurt us with a train that nobody wants – except for you. If you think we need a rail system, get BART to expand!! They do a great job with their service in the Bay Area.
   We don’t need a freaking train…People don’t use the train we have!!! This state needs WATER, look how the population of CA has grown and I can’t think ANY NEW major water storage/ lakes/ dams that have been built…it takes WATER for PEOPLE to LIVE…NOT A TRAIN!!!
   We have a train that is losing money. Why do we need another train to lose more money? Only a politician could see this as wise use of taxpayers money. Most California citizens say NO!
   WE NEED WATER TO LIVE, WE CAN LIVE WITHOUT HIGH SPEED RAIL.
   Stop the train. We don’t need it, we need water!
   People can’t live long without food or water. It has been nearly 40 years since a dam was built in this state. Meanwhile our population continues to grow, as do the markets for our produce. We need more water storage, not high speed trains that will be a drain on the State budget in perpetuity.
   We need water more then we need a train…
   Stop the train to nowhere! Create real jobs that last…give us water storage!
   It amazes me the lack of common sense we have in the state capital, also doing the right thing for the people, and not for lining the pockets of state and government officials with the rail project, should be your priority.
   Everyone needs water. Not everyone will ride the train.
   Stop the crazy train and build more water storage and desalination plants! Fast track more water for California.
   Water is a current and dire future problem. As much as I wish we had convenient, affordable rail travel, I would rather see the more serious issue of our ongoing water problem dealt with.
   We need water storage, not a worthless train! With no water there is no one to ride the train anyways!
   We already have Amtrak, that’s good enough for me. What we so DESPERATELY NEED is water. Won’t you please help us?
   The entire valley will benefit from water. It will help keep the farmers in business! It’s not like the farmers are going to get hired to build the high speed rail. How can the high speed rail be more beneficial when it’s NOT a necessity!!!! It’s a luxury. WE NEED WATER NOT A TRAIN!
   I would rather eat than ride a train…Build the DAM.
   Water is more important than a train.
   Right now water is the biggest concern for most Californians, not public transportation.
   NO train…water please.
   We don’t need the train, we need water!!
   We need damns that will benefit the entire population of CA not a DAM train that will only benefit 1% of CA population!!!! DAMS not DAMN trains!!
   Everyone I know is moving out of California and I’m not far behind with the way things are going.
   This is such a no-brainer that we shouldn’t even need a petition. Just a Governor with a sense of what’s best for the PEOPLE that he is supposed to represent, not his own personal agenda.
   The very urgent need of water here in the Central California region should be a first priority for the Governor. I am not saying don’t build the “High Speed Rail,” what I am saying is that “Our Water Needs” should be priority number one. Halt the “High Speed Rail Project” and concentrate on the more important issue…
   Knowing what we know now about the so-called “high speed rail,” it would have never have been approved by the taxpayers. We need to place OUR money where we desperately need it. Build water storage now and innovate water solutions.
   Way, way too expensive to be built now!! California has many other issues to be dealt with…especially water. Good grief what kind of person doesn’t see the need for water in this State!
   LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE & STOP SADDLING THE TAXPAYERS WITH THIS RIDICULOUS TRAIN THAT HASN’T MET 1 SINGLE BOND MEASURE REQUIREMENT & IS 5 TIMES MORE EXPENSIVE THAN PROPOSED. WE NEED WATER TO MAKE OUR STATE PROSPEROUS & TO SUPPLY THE WORLD WITH FOOD.
   This state is in desperate need of water, without it there isn’t a state period.
   Societies rise and fall by the way they manage their water supplies. California’s economic juggernaut exists because our forefathers built the best infrastructure in the world! Let’s get this dam built!
   Dam that Train! Leave our farms, families, communities and jobs, invest in water storage and build our economy, not a train to nowhere!
   Governor Brown, Make your legacy that you solved the water crisis in California, created jobs, kept the Central Valley green and productive, fed the rest of the Country and the world and put all this ahead of a train that will cost the California taxpayer billions maybe trillions for decades.
   Building the dam should be number 1 priority, the train can wait. Without water pretty soon there will be no California. We need water to survive and for the farmers to continue with their jobs. Water is needed for many things. It’s not something you can just keep pushing back on hold.
▪   
We won’t need a train when we have no water…there will be nobody to ride it. Total waste of taxpayers’ money. Build a Dam and save California…it’s farmers and people.