The Biden administration is sending billions to California’s “train to nowhere,” which is overbudget and running behind schedule

More than $3 billion in federal taxpayer dollars are being sent to California by the Biden administration for the state’s high-speed rail project, which was first approved 15 years ago but has since experienced enormous delays and been drastically scaled back.

In addition to the $8.2 billion in new passenger rail corridors that were unveiled statewide on Friday, the White House also announced $3.07 billion in additional federal money for the California Inaugural High-Speed Rail Service Project. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom and former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have supported the project, which has grown $80 billion over budget since it was first approved by California voters in 2008.

“California is delivering on the first 220-mph, electric high-speed rail project in the nation,” Governor Gavin Newsom declared following the financing announcement. “This show of support from the Biden-Harris Administration is a vote of confidence in today’s vision and comes at a critical turning point, providing the project new momentum.”

“California is quite proud of its goal to be the forefront of high-speed rail in the United States. In addition, Pelosi stated, “We make a significant step toward realizing high-speed rail in California with this additional $3.07 billion in federal funding.” “An electrified high-speed rail network will dramatically improve the quality of life in the Central Valley and up and down California.”

The White House bragged about the project’s climate benefits in its presentation, but it omitted to mention that it has been in development for more than ten years and has experienced considerable delays. As stated in an announcement that went along with it, the Department of Transportation was working on a project that would “help deliver high-speed rail service in California’s Central Valley.”

The high-speed rail system proposal was first introduced by former Republican California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who left office in early 2011. His Democratic successor, Governor Jerry Brown, carried on the project. In 2010, the Obama-Biden administration used money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a 2009 post-recession stimulus package, to acquire nearly $2 billion to finance the project’s development.

Originally, a $33 billion railway project stretching 1,955 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles was to be built. Since then, the project’s scope has been drastically reduced to a 171-mile railway that will connect Bakersfield, Fresno, and Merced; it is not projected to be operational until 2030. The cost has also increased to $113 billion.

All things considered, assuming the project is finished by 2030, it will have taken ten years longer than anticipated, cost $80 billion more, and been 91% smaller than anticipated. Owing to its numerous shortcomings, detractors have called the project the “train to nowhere.”

Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., who has long opposed the project, told Fox News Digital, “This commuter train isn’t even ‘high speed,’ is at least 13 years behind schedule, and will now cost four times the original price tag promised to voters.” “This fiasco has cost taxpayers far too much money. Everyone will benefit from stopping the losses and withdrawing any funds contributed to this ridiculous endeavor.”

LaMalfa went on, “Any fool can see this project isn’t going to be completed.” “The state is nearly $120 billion short, hasn’t installed an inch of track, and is $68 billion in debt. Newsom and Biden are very skilled at wasting your money.”

Republican congressman from California, Rep. Jay Obernolte, also attacked the project, pointing out that even when it is operational, ridership will not be sufficient to pay for anticipated running expenses.

Obernolte told Fox News Digital, “I think it is inappropriate for the federal government to subsidize the California High-Speed Rail Authority.” “Even if this train system is ever finished, its estimated ridership won’t even come close to meeting its running expenses, meaning that taxpayers will be asked to continue financing it forever. It is years behind time and billions of dollars over budget. This is not a prudent or fitting use of public funds.”

In his first State of the State address shortly after entering office in 2019, Newsom announced that he will reduce the project’s scope from its initial ambitious design, citing reasons such as excessive costs and timeliness for continuing on the current path. “There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency,” he said in his speech.

A few months later, the Trump administration sent a sharp letter to California announcing that it was canceling the multibillion-dollar grant that the Obama administration had given for the project. According to a letter from Ronald Batory, a former administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, California “has no foreseeable plans, nor the capability, to pursue that statewide [High-Speed Rail] System as originally proposed.”

The Biden administration declared in June 2021 that it would overturn the ruling and bring back the funding.

“This investment has already created over 11,000 good-paying union jobs, and California high speed rail is going to save people time, make it easy to travel across the state for the first time in history, and reduce carbon emissions by as much as 2 million metric tons — comparable to taking 432,000 passenger vehicles off the road every year,” Robyn Patterson, a spokeswoman for the White House, via statement.

Criticism of the initiative was dismissed by Patterson as “hot air.”

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