Don’t tell Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and her socialist chums who want to eliminate air travel and replace it with high-speed rail, but the leftist governor of California has just canceled the long-developing high-speed train from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
As has been noted, in the overview Ocasio-Cortez released regarding her “Green New Deal,” it stated, “Totally overhaul transportation by massively expanding electric vehicle manufacturing, build charging stations everywhere, build out high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary, create affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle.”
Newsom said in his State of the State address, “Let’s be real. The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency. 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.”
Newsom hedged his bets a little, indicating that he would seek more funding: “Abandoning high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions and billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises, partially filled commitments and lawsuits to show for it. 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.”
For the moment, only the Central Valley segment of the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles train will be built.
The high-speed rail project has been plagued with problems for some time, as the San Francisco Chronicle explained:
California voters approved a $10 billion bond in 2008 largely for the construction of bullet train between San Francisco and Los Angeles. 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. A revised business plan adopted last year pushed back the completion of the project by four more years and estimated a final cost of $77 billion.
The Daily Wire was more explicit about the problems, reporting in January 2018:
California’s high-speed choo-choo train drifted further into bizarro world Tuesday when the project’s lead government body announced a $2.8 billion jump in costs for the first 119-mile section of the planned 800-mile route.
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.
Hill said delays in purchasing the land, the need to buy more parcels than projected, and the increase in land prices account for about $725 million of the cost increase; construction delays, $325 million; intrusion barriers to separate bullet-train tracks from adjacent railroad lines, $450 million; increased costs with outside agencies, $600 million; and contingencies set aside for future increases, $600 million.