Gov. Jerry Brown, defiant in the wake of the massive GOP victory on Tuesday, insists that his pet project, the state’s $68-billion bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco, will not die, despite GOP opposition. Brown said of the GOP, “They’re going to join the chorus….Look, we have the ingredients to get this thing launched.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is from Bakersfield, is leading the charge to terminate any more federal spending on the train, and his efforts will be bolstered by the GOP takeover of the U.S. Senate. The federal government has given only $3.2 billion in grants for the train, leaving the project far short of what is needed, even including a state bond measure and pollution fees collected by the state legislature.
But according to the Los Angeles Times, Brown remains undeterred, saying, “We have the amount of federal money we’re going to get, at least over the next few years. And we have funds from the state.” He is confident despite the fact that a state bond measure and the Legislature’s recent allocation of some pollution fees to the project will still leave it many billions of dollars short of its $68-billion budget.
Brown stated that he had support from Chinese and Japanese investors, boasting that they were ”very bullish” on investing in the train. He added that the Japanese ambassador to the United States recently visited him to push for a Japanese rail company. He concluded that his opponents “may be small-minded,” but once construction begins they would reverse their positions. Brown said, “Maybe even some of the Republican congressmen will have to see the wisdom of high-speed rail.”
Thus far, only one major Republican leader in the state, Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin, backs the project. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has reversed his own earlier support, and now says that he opposes the high-speed rail project.