Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

California to pull plug on billion-dollar bullet train, cites ballooning costs

California High Speed Rail construction Gary Reyes TNS Newscom
Jeannette Daniel | 13 February, 2019, 16:15

The FAQ page said, "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 goals to replace every combustion-engine vehicle" in the next 10 years.

Newsom said "we will continue our regional projects north and south", and committed to connecting the Central Valley to other parts of the state, finishing the Phase 1 environmental work which covers San Francisco to Los Angeles and Anaheim, and continuing to push for more federal and private funding. Latest estimates pin the cost at $77 billion and completion in 2033.

Newsom has laid out his vision for California twice already, in his inaugural address and through his first crack at the state budget.

"I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump", Newsom said.

Newsom said high speed rail was about "economic transformation" of the Central Valley, and 'we can align our economic and workforce development strategies, anchored by High-Speed Rail, and pair them with tools like opportunity zones, to form the backbone of a reinvigorated Central Valley economy'. "It will just put more billions into [high speed rail]" said Nielsen.

The speech came a day after Newsom defied Trump by ordering that several hundred National Guard troops withdraw from California's border with Mexico, days after Trump announced that he had ordered 3,750 troops to the country's southern border to prepare for a "tremendous onslaught" of immigrants seeking to enter the country.

'Last week, we heard (Trump) stand up at the State of the Union and offer a vision of an America fundamentally at odds with California values, ' he said. "Overall immigrant apprehensions on the border last year were as low as they've been in almost 50 years".

More news: McDonald's has a new breakfast item. Get ready for a sugar rush

Newsom, though, said there's been a "gray area" in the troops' duties that may have allowed some to inadvertently participate in immigration activities. A Guard official said the state's troops have not helped detain anyone.

Newsom disputed Trump's claim there is a crisis on the border and any need for National Guard troops was eliminated when Trump chose earlier this month to add 3,750 more US troops at the border.

Newsom appointed Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to head his Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing.

Newsom says the state won't waver on its ambitious clean energy goals, but must also address the pressure that climate change is putting on utilities.

Newsom also touched on the issues of homelessness, schools, PG&E's bankruptcy and housing.

"I don't know what the right adjective is without coming off as hyperbolic; the whole thing is ridiculous", Newsom said.

"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", Newsom said. "PG&E didn't do enough to secure risky equipment or plan for the future".

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