Curt Pringle resigns from state bullet-train post
Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle resigned on Monday from the California High-Speed Rail Authority board, saying he would like to concentrate on his government consulting and lobbying firm.
Pringle, a former Assembly speaker, sent a resignation letter to board Chairman Tom Umberg, who praised his colleague for advancing the project, working to attract federal funding and helping to hire the authority's current chief executive, Roelof Van Ark.
In his letter, Pringle wrote that the high-speed rail project will not be successful without political leadership from Gov. Jerry Brown. His resignation, he noted, would give the governor an opportunity to appoint someone to the board who reflects Brown's view of the proposal.
Pringle wrote that the project has been challenging, but added that when completed, it will have "a tremendous, positive impact on the lives of all Californians and on our state's economy."
The proposal, which is estimated to cost at least $43 billion, would link the Bay Area and Southern California by way of 220-mph trains. The voter-approved project has stirred considerable controversy. Communities have opposed the proposed route, particularly in the Bay Area, and questions have been raised about ridership projections, the adequacy of the project's business plan, and the ability to attract enough state and federal funding to finish the project.
In December, the state attorney general concluded that Pringle and members of the Los Angeles County and Orange County transportation boards could not serve simultaneously on the state High-Speed Rail Authority board. The formal opinion about holding incompatible offices was prompted by a controversy over the multiple public hats worn by Pringle and another official.
Pringle was able to continue serving on the high-speed rail board because he was termed out as Anaheim mayor in January and stepped down as a local transportation official.
-- Dan Weikel
Photo: Former Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle at a press conference in May 2005. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times