California asks feds for $1.2 billion for high-speed rail. Here’s how it would be spent

Federal grants from a massive infrastructure bill could breathe new life into California’s beleaguered high-speed rail project — if the state’s applications are selected by the Biden administration to receive a share of the funds. The California High-Speed Rail Authority submitted a pair of applications last month for money from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden last year. And while it’s not a sure thing, authority chief financial officer Brian Annis said California stands a good chance in the competition for the grants. “Clearly our project is what I call a ‘national scale’ project; it’s a project of national significance,” Annis told members of the authority’s board of directors at their meeting Thursday in Fresno. “It’s a megaproject.” Federal contributions to California’s ambitious bullet-train program have always been an important component of the state’s anticipated revenues for development and construction. In 2008, when California voters were asked to approve a $10 billion high-speed rail bond measure, officials “assumed federal dollars would cover from one-third to one-half of the cost of building high-speed rail.” The state has spent about $9.3 billion for project development and construction since the mid-2000s, most of that coming since construction on the initial segments began in the central San Joaquin Valley in 2014. In its 2022 business plan submitted to the state Legislature last month, the agency projected the capital costs to complete its interim operating section between Merced and Bakersfield at about $19.7 billion.

But after the Obama administration provided California with about $3.5 billion in economic stimulus and rail improvement grants in 2009 and 2010, few additional federal funds have been forthcoming as Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives railed against providing any more money for the project. That’s only about 15% of the estimated price tag to get electric-powered trains rolling at up to 220 mph through the central San Joaquin Valley, Annis said. “In the past we have not met our target for federal contributions,” Annis told the board. “But with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law we think there’s an opportunity now to even that out a bit.” If California is successful in winning the grants for which it applies — as much as $8 billion or more over the next five years — “it would bring the federal funding share up to about 37%.” The May grant applications for the 2022 federal fiscal year include:

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Comments

  1. Linda Diehl says

    In my humble opinion as a California taxpayer, ALL money going into the “surplus” California budget is not being spent to the benefit of the California people. Serious forensic audits of BOTH the California treasury and the California voter rolls need to be done ASAP. This place is a slush-fund pass through state — period!

  2. Really??? says

    Linda will you please stop this.

    What you want accountability and honesty in government? You want the Socialist Party called Democrats not to take as much money from the taxpayers and then hand out patronage?

    Geez……..

    See folks when put in this frame work it really makes the Democrats look silly, and people like Linda amazingly rational.

  3. Lol…lol….lol…lol…lol

  4. More of the self righteous greed of the democrat parasites.

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