Facing a record deficit, Gavin Newsom confirms there’s one budget item whose massive funding he won’t touch: High-Speed Rail.
The bullet train, priced as high as $100 billion, is safely ensconced as one of the Governor’s “most essential priorities.” If Gov. Newsom gets his way, not a dime will be taken from the train – or the special interests that feed off of it – even as education funding is cut and people with developmental disabilities take a $300 million hit.
I’m introducing a bill to end this madness, redirecting $3 billion in train funding to things that actually matter to Californians.
California’s High-Speed Rail will surely go down as the most wasteful government project in United States history. Even in 2013, before the last seven years of cost overruns, delays, mismanagement, and corruption, Elon Musk said this about the train:
“It would be great to have an alternative to flying or driving, but obviously only if it is actually better than flying or driving. The train in question would be both slower, more expensive to operate and less safe by two orders of magnitude than flying, so why would anyone use it?”
Apparently he’s just a “small-minded person,” as Jerry Brown called all train critics. To Musk’s point, the price to ride the train, if ever built, would be more than a Southwest Airlines ticket.
Gov. Newsom’s Finance Director defended the funding by saying the project “creates jobs.” Of course, you could also create jobs by hiring people to dig a hole and hiring more people to fill it back in – which would be just as valuable as a Train to Nowhere. Actually, it would be far preferable because the train misadventure has brought with it land seizures, environmental harms, cronyism, and much more.
By pouring money into the train, we ignore not only the transportation needs of the present – underfunding roads – but also the technology of the future. Projects from privately funded hyperloop companies will likely come online before the train is complete, rendering High-Speed Rail obsolete.
Somehow, California’s political leadership is missing both the present and the future while our taxpayers foot an astonishing bill.