The State of California has now spent over $5 billion on its long-delayed high-speed rail project — roughly the same amount of money that Democrats are refusing to provide President Donald Trump for his border wall proposal.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority, which intends to connect San Francisco to Los Angeles with a bullet train, was approved by voters in a 2008 referendum. However, barely any of it has been built. The cost of the train continues to rise; the technical difficulties continue to mount; and the public remains unconvinced of its value.
Lee Ohanian of the conservative Hoover Institution wrote last month:
The California High-Speed Rail project began in 2008 at an estimated cost of about $39 billion to build high-speed train service between Northern California, Southern California, and the Central Valley. Despite the project having been significantly scaled back, the price tag for the down-sized system is likely approaching $100 billion. The first passengers to ride on the key Los Angeles–San Francisco route are projected to board no earlier than 2033, which is a four-year delay over and above previous delays. After California has spent roughly $5.4 billion, the bullet train is going nowhere fast.
Governor Gavin Newsom once opposed the high-speed rail, but later reversed himself and now supports the project — though future funding is uncertain.
Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress — led by California’s own Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) of San Francisco — continue to oppose President Donald Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to build a “wall” — a bollard steel fence — along parts of the U.S.-Mexico border, where a fence would be appropriate, along with other security measures.
As a result, the partial federal government shutdown is about to become the longest ever, exceeding 21 days.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.