California Governor Jerry Brown blasted critics of his cherished high-speed rail project in a speech to labor leaders in Sacramento on Monday: “This is bullshit … “I’m so tired of all the nonsense that I read in the paper and you hear from other politicians.”
Brown, according to the Los Angeles Times, was furious at recent news reports of the rising cost estimates and vowed that the project will be built with federal dollars once Democrats re-take control of Congress following the 2018 midterm elections.
“People say, ‘How are you going to fund the railroad? … I’ll tell you how we’re going to fund the railroad. We’re going to take back the Congress and then a Democratic Congress is going to put the high-speed rail in the infrastructure bill and then we’ll get that trillion dollars and we’ll put America back to work.”
Republicans have blocked funding to high-speed rail projects in California and other states, after Democrats passed such funding in the ill-fated “stimulus” bill of 2009. The Obama administration attempted to bully states into spending the money, with then-Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood threatening recalcitrant states with the loss of stimulus funds. Several called his bluff rather than face potentially crippling long-term costs for unproven projects.
The recent alarm over rising high-speed rail costs comes was not raised by journalists or politicians, but by the California High-Speed Rail Authority itself. As Breitbart News reported Sunday:
California’s bullet train appears to have released a “High Case” estimate of $98.1 billion to prepare the public for much higher tunneling costs.
Breitbart News reported on March 9 that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s (CHSR) new chief program officer, Roy Hill, had issued a 114-page “2018 Draft Budget” with a “Base Case” cost to build the 500-mile bullet train that had more than doubled to $77.3 billion, or $155 million per mile.
That compared to the $37 billion, $74 million-per-mile plan that Gov. Schwarzenegger and other advocates claimed when they convinced voters to pass Proposition 1A in 2008.
CHSR’s first comprehensive financial review in a decade acknowledged, “The worst-case scenario has happened.” But CHSR — for the first time — included a “High Case” estimate that warned costs could spike to $98.1 billion, or $196 million per mile.
Brown insisted to labor leaders that the high-speed rail project would solve many of the state’s problems, including the lack of available low-cost housing in coastal cities — presumably by allowing workers to live in the interior of the state and commute to the coast.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.