How the Trump administration can stop the bullet train

From the San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board

The only kind of news the troubled $64 billion California bullet train project seems to generate is bad news. In January, a Federal Railroad Administration analysis was leaked that projected the initial 118-mile, $6.4 billion segment of the project would run 50 percent over budget. Then last week, a Los Angeles Times report revealed that the project’s price tag may continue to be pushed higher and higher by “the complex engineering needed for passenger safety.” It also offered an alarming warning from rail safety consultant Steven Ditmeyer that corners were being cut already on safety issues for budgetary and political reasons.

The jarring questions these reports raise about the project’s finances and management couldn’t come at a worse time for the rail authority and Gov. Jerry Brown, the bullet train’s most vocal backer. That’s because U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is being urged by California House Republicans not only to audit the project but also to reverse Obama administration decisions that exempted it from normal standards relating to the state’s use of about $3 billion in federal funds.

One of those decisions was explicit and aboveboard, if dubious: a 2012 agreement that allowed the state to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding without matching state spending. Rep. Jeff Dunham, R-Turlock, and other bullet train critics have long argued that this waiver is directly in contradiction to decades of precedents under which the federal government requires matching state spending on big projects to lock in states’ commitments to finish what they start. …

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Comments

  1. Linda E Lopez says

    The bullet train is a waste of time and money. From pictures of the planned project the train will go from the LA area to the Bay Area….but not to Nth CA/Sacramento. I have also heard that Brown has had to use eminent domain to “acquire” some of the land. We don’t need a bullet train…we need our dams, water systems, bridges and roads fixed. Fix the infrastructure and stop wasting taxpayer money.

  2. Laurence Almand says

    Instead of spending $68 billion (more likely $200 billion when all the “overruns” and union overtime is tallied up) why not spend the money to improve California’s schools? And why build more rail when the state already has over 7,000 miles of rails, many of which are underused?
    This entire project is just another bureaucratic boondoggle – a colossal waste of money in a state that is already taxed to the limit, and facing bankruptcy.
    Someone is going to make a huge amount of cash from this useless project – but it won’t be the taxpayers!

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