With Jerry Brown Away, Democrat Dumps High-Speed Rail

Brown at High-Speed Rail Groundbreaking (AP)
AP / Gary Kazanjian

While Jerry Brown sells climate change in Paris, the governor’s bullet train has derailed: some Democrats are withdrawing their support.

Assemblywoman Patty Lopez (D-San Fernando) told the Los Angeles Times that she is not alone in her reversal regarding Brown’s pet project; five other Democrats have joined her. Lopez stated that high-speed rail would increase crime and destroy businesses in her mostly Latino, working-class district, adding, “I don’t see any benefit. People are really upset.”

Lopez’s decision to publicly oppose high-speed rail has been coming for some time. Last January, Lopez told a Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council town meeting, “High-speed rail, I just want to say, I don’t want it to happen in my district.” Last week, Lopez told a SAFE meeting, “I’m not happy about the project. I’m elected to represent you, and this project is not right. It’s not ethical. It’s not moral. And it’s a waste of money,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News.

Estimates for the cost of the bullet train have varied. Critics say that the amount required could exceed $70 billion.

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who is running to replace Brown in 2018, opposes the high-speed rail project.