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California's 40th District

Mar 10, 2021 | Economy, In The News

The California High Speed Rail project was pitched to Californians more than a decade ago as a much-needed, innovative infrastructure investment linking Northern and Southern California.

Critics at the time warned the project wouldn’t be completed in the promised time frame and would face significant cost increases.

The decade since has proven them right, as the project continues to face unacceptable delays and significant cost increases.  Especially now, with so many problems to address, solve and protect against, taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to support the $100 billion disaster that is the bullet train.

Rep. Michelle Steel, R-Costa Mesa, joined by several other California Republican members of Congress, has introduced legislation to end federal support for the boondoggle.

“The California high-speed rail project is a failure. Costs have continued to rise, while people and businesses have lost their properties, and the sections of the high-speed rail that do exist are inoperable,” Steel said in a statement. “This is an unacceptable and an embarrassing waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Steel is right about all of that.

Appropriately, Steel’s proposal is called the Stop the High-Speed Money Pit Act.

Steel’s effort is backed by many Southern California representatives, including Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, Rep. Young Kim, R-Brea, Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, and Rep. Jay Obernolte, R-Big Bear Lake.

Naturally, with Democratic control of Congress, the bill is unlikely to get very far. But its premise is sound.

Just last month, the California High Speed Rail Authority pushed back the deadline by a year and raised the cost for completing a section of the project in the Central Valley.

Even if the idea of a bullet train in California is a good one, this project has not been a model of best practices, efficient use of public funds and respect for California taxpayers. Neither the state of California nor the federal government should continue to squander taxpayers’ finite resources in a time when we could all think of much better uses for state and federal funds.

Kudos to Steel and her colleagues for standing up for taxpayers and common sense.

The Sun

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