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Reality strikes? Gavin Newsom, California’s new Democratic governor, announced during his state of the state speech today that he wants to abandon the very-overbudget-and-behind-schedule high speed rail project that the previous Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, had been pushing for years.
“Let’s level about the high-speed rail,” Newsom said. “Let’s be real, the current project as planned would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.”
Recent estimates assessed former Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan would be cost about $77 billion and be completed in 2033. Newsom then pivoted to his alternate proposal, to instead connect the two Central Valley cities, 160 miles apart.
Newsom wasn’t really arguing for common sense, since he proposed replacing this big project with a smaller rail project connecting two smaller cities in the middle of the state. Like the bigger project, the logic of this escapes me. It is very unlikely enough Californians will be want to use the new route to make it profitable, or even practical.
In addition, he also said he didn’t want to return the federal dollars provided for the big project, essentially saying he wants to steal that money from the federal government to use in ways it was not intended.