Saturday, 23 February, 2019

California-Finally-Scraps-High-Speed-Rail

Gavin Newsom To Scale Back, Not Abandon, California's High-Speed Rail Calif. Gov. Cancels High-Speed Rail Project: ‘Would Cost Too Much and Take Too Long’
Melinda Barton | 13 February, 2019, 16:16

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D.) said on Tuesday "it would cost too much and take too long" to build a high-speed train line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The rail project, which was meant to connect the northern and southern parts of the state, will now connect Bakersfield and Merced in the San Joaquin Valley breadbasket, filling a glaring gap in the state system and keeping Newsom's campaign promise to help that often overlooked part of California. "The current project, as planned, would cost too much and take too long".

Gavin Newsom's office says he is fully committed to building a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. "I wish there were".

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is preparing to deliver his first State of the State address a day after declaring he wouldn't participate in the Trump administration's "political theater" over border security.

The embattled $77-billion bullet train has been an embarrassment for the Golden State and has been plagued by problems nearly from the start.

The cost of building the train, at last estimate, was put at $77 billion and wouldn't be completed until 2033, the Associated Press reported.

In late November, a state audit highlighted the flaws in the project, which began the pressure on then Gov. -elect Newsom to consider cutting back the construction of the train or make other major changes. President Barack Obama's administration did provide $3.5 billion in stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but the project otherwise saw little additional outside financial support.

The governor also said he will name his economic development director, Lenny Mendonca, to chair the High-Speed Rail Authority, and vowed new transparency and to hold contractors and consultants accountable to explain how tax dollars are spent. One of the goals was to create a high-speed rail system throughout the United States that would render air travel unnecessary.

Carl DeMaio, chairman of the watchdog group Reform California and a former San Diego City Council member, said Newsom clearly intends to keep the high-speed rail project alive.

Newsom also said during his speech that the state faces "hard decisions that are coming due" on clean water, housing and homelessness.

"Tolerance for illegal immigration is not compassionate, it is cruel", Trump said at the State of the Union, linking immigration to violent crime and other serious problems.

"Brown had agreed to deploy troops a year ago at the Trump administration's request, although he said they couldn't participate in immigration enforcement".

Newsom announced Monday he'll withdraw most of California's 360 National Guard troops working with the federal government at the Mexico border.

Newsom, though, said there's been a "gray area" in the troops' duties that may have allowed some to inadvertently participate in immigration activities.

In the speech, Newsom also announced plans to scale back California's bullet train, and talked about combating the state's surge in wildfires, the bankruptcy of its largest utility in PG&E, public school funding and expanding health care coverage.