What to Do About the High Speed Rail "Hole in the Ground?"

Gov. Gavin Newsom pledges to scale back high-speed rail and twin tunnels projects in State of the State speech

Gavin Newsom To Scale Back, Not Abandon, California's High-Speed Rail

Newsom distanced himself from fellow Democrat and four-term governor Jerry Brown in partially unwinding two of his popular predecessor's signature projects: bypassing the fragile California Delta with a set of tunnels to divert water from upstream and building a $77 billion high-speed rail line.

Newsom said Tuesday there "isn't a path" now to build the full line. The current project, as planned, would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long.

In response to Newsom's comments, CHRSA Chief Executive Officer Brian Kelly said the authority is "eager" to complete the project's construction in the Central Valley.

California was one of the first US states to champion a government-owned high-speed rail system like those that are ubiquitous in parts of Europe and Asia.

"It is shocking", said a senior executive at a major engineering firm in California who has worked on the bullet train project and asked not to be identified. Newsom responded that it's California's money and "we're not giving it back".

The Trump administration is weighing the risk to a "significant" amount of federal funds tied up in California's high-speed rail project, a Department of Transportation (DOT) spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday. The state finally broke ground in 2015 on a 119-mile segment between Madera and Bakersfield, but the project has lost popularity and become a growing political target as it blows through deadlines and budgets. But since $10 billion of bonds were approved by voters more than a decade ago to jumpstart the line, it's been beset by cost overruns, construction delays and lawsuits by property owners and taxpayer groups. The new governor intends to finish environmental studies that one day could lead to the project's completion as it was originally designed. As such, RailPAC applauds the Governor's initiatives to dramatically improve the project's oversight, transparency and governance. He's going to complete the first leg of the high-speed rail in the Central Valley of California, between Bakersfield and Merced.

As for Newsom's decision to move National Guard troops from the border to more "appropriate" venues, Tomi questioned what could be more "appropriate" than securing the border.

'We welcome this direction and look forward to continuing the important work on this transformative project'.

The Democratic governor is likely to ratchet up his rhetoric against President Donald Trump in Tuesday's address, a month into Newsom's governorship. What Californians actually got was a corrupt, sprawling disaster that weaved through unnecessary parts of the state so that all sorts of interested parties could get their slice of the pie.

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