Newsom tweaks focus of high speed rail to Central Valley

Frederick Owens
February 14, 2019

"The project, as now planned, would cost too much and take too long", Newsom told lawmakers in Sacramento during his first State of the State address. "We need to move ahead into the 21st", another added.

Newsom said workers will continue building a stretch of the line between Merced and Bakersfield. "And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump". "The project, as now planned, would cost too much and take too long".

At the California High-Speed Rail Authority's monthly board meeting, Roy Hill, who heads the project's main consulting firm, said the project has reached a "worst-case scenario" of increases unanticipated by the rail authority, but widely predicted outside the halls of state government, even in a confidential analysis by the Federal Railroad Administration. The California High-Speed Rail Authority's 2018 business plan extended the project's completion another four years to 2033 with a simple $30 billion funding shortfall.

The state has also received $3.5 billion from the federal government, which Newsom has no intention in returning. While he will reassign more than 360 National Guard members deployed to the border to other duties in the state, 100 plus members will remain at the border as part of a drug trafficking task force.

Newsom said contractors and consultants would be held more accountable in the future, with details of expenditure to go online. Right now, there simply isn't a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A.

"Newsom wants to spend tens of billions on a rail line between Merced and Bakersfield - a complete waste", DeMaio said.

"It makes sense for High-speed Rail to extend from the agricultural Capitol of the Central Valley to the Innovation Capitol of Silicon Valley". He said Tuesday in a statement that he is glad to see Newsom press forward on the issue.

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"I know the valley".

The governor also said he will continue to push for federal and private funding for the entire rail line. "Because last week, we heard another president stand up at the State of the Union and offer a vision of an America fundamentally at odds with California values".

'He described a country where inequality didn't seem to be a problem, where climate change didn't exist, and where the greatest threat we face comes from families seeking asylum at the border, ' Newsom continued. "These cities need to summon the political courage to build their fair share of housing".

During his speech, Newsom praised state lawmakers for passing a bill a year ago that aims to improve privacy protections for consumers. They will work with his administration to develop what he called a comprehensive strategy.

In his speech, Newsom rejected Trump's rhetoric about an "emergency" at the border as part of a "manufactured crisis", noting that data has shown that undocumented immigrants are generally less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens.

"Taking care of each other, showing courage when it matters most - this is what we do in California", the governor said after recognizing Pierce in the Assembly gallery.

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