U.S. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA), chairman of the House rail subcommittee, has proposed an amendment that could cripple plans for the construction of California’s high-speed rail project. Denham’s amendment would eliminate a 2012 agreement between California and the Obama administration that permitted the state to obtain federal grant money without matching those funds with money from state coffers.
Denham told the Los Angeles Times, “The project is several decades behind schedule. No longer will they be able to accept a hamburger today for payment on Tuesday.” Denham said on the floor of the House Tuesday night, “We are $87 billion short. The governor’s not proposing $87 billion. The president’s not proposing $87 billion. So, we’re really leaving the state of California at risk,” according to KCRA.
Denham’s amendment, which is attached to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, was approved by the House Tuesday night. If the Senate passes the bill, Barack Obama, who has supported the rail project, would have to veto the entire bill in order to stop Denham’s amendment.
The High-Speed Rail Authority spoke out against the amendment, as did Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), McClatchy notes: “It’s sad that a California congressman would block our state from receiving federal funds that would help our economy,” she said.
Jordan Langdon, communications director for Denham, told CBS Sacramento that the 2012 agreement was installed after California missed several payment deadlines