California nixes plans for high-speed LA-SF rail line

California must tackle mounting wildfire risk amid an energy transition

Gavin Newsom confirmed during his State of the State address on Tuesday that he plans to scale back the state's ambitious and controversial high-speed rail project for the time being.

"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.

"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".

Former California state Assemblyman Chuck Devore appeared on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" Wednesday to discuss the fate of the high-speed rail project. "I think that was one of the big issues", said Shannon Grove.

"I know that some critics will say this is a 'train to nowhere.' But that's wrong and offensive". Newsom said the project has been botched and suffered "too many years of neglect" from bureaucrats and decision-makers.

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.

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His coalition has to call an election by May and has been trailing the opposition centre-left Labor Party in opinion polls. He said the move was to deal with "the prospect of arrivals as well as dealing with the prospect of (medivac) transfers".

A state audit issued in November said California's High-Speed Rail Authority's "flawed decision making and poor contract management have contributed to billions in cost overruns and delays". 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.

"We have to be realistic about the project - that means refocus and reprioritize to get a finished section from Bakersfield to Merced", Melgar said, adding that the governor intends on "completing the bookend projects and finishing the environmental review for the San Francisco to Los Angeles leg".

UPDATE, Wednesday 5:50 p.m.: President Donald Trump responded to Newsom's call to focus on the Central Valley with a tweet demanding that California return the $3.5 billion to the federal government. "We will need new ways of looking at old problems, and unprecedented collaboration to meet the challenges ahead". He said his administration would seek to align economic and workforce development strategies in that region - anchored by high-speed rail - and pair them with tools like opportunity zones, to form the backbone of a reinvigorated Central Valley economy. 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.

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

"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.

Newsom criticized "fear-mongering that's coming out of the White House", likening Trump's rhetoric on immigrants to George W. Bush opposing same-sex marriage when he was president, during an era when LGBT people had less public support and fewer civil protections.

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