Gov. Newsom puts brakes on high-speed rail project


In his address - which lasted almost 45 minutes, more than twice the length of the average State of the State speech by former governors Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger - he also signaled support for a single Delta tunnel. The project, as now planned, would cost too much and take too long. "How we protect migrants, care for seniors, and help the homeless, and how we will tackle the affordability crisis that is coming to define life in this state", Newsom said.

However long it takes for San Francisco and Los Angeles to be a priority once again, it's sure to throw off several transportation projects centered around the high-speed rail.

California's Governor has refused to return $3.5billion in federal funding for a struggling high-speed rail project after Donald Trump told him: "We want that money back".

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

All that is to say, the California high-speed rail project's biggest supporters are people who won't need it, but are hoping that it succeeds so that more places will embrace high-speed rail (like their own cities). Newsom responded that it's California's money and "we're not giving it back". There would also be governance chnages, with Newsom picking his Economic Development Director Lenny Mendonca as the next Chair of the High-Speed Rail Authority. Instead, the state should focus on a 160-mile route that will connect Merced to Bakersfield in the Central Valley.

But the governor also doubled down on finishing a shorter Valley segment now under construction, from Bakersfield to Merced, and he appointed a new leader for the project.

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"We're building high-speed rail, connecting the Central Valley and beyond", Newsom replied. "But we can build on the important work that's already been done". As such, RailPAC applauds the Governor's initiatives to dramatically improve the project's oversight, transparency and governance.

Newsom fell short of entirely scrapping the idea of a statewide rail line, saying environmental work will continue and the state will keep pushing for "more federal funding and private dollars".

Gov. Gavin Newsom is creating a new commission on homelessness and housing to address one of California's most hard problems. If it is not complete by 2022, that money must be refunded.

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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.