Two LA Assemblymembers block funds connecting High Speed Rail to Bay Area

By Roger Rudick, Streetsblog Cal, November 8, 2021

“California’s high-speed rail project will be in a good position to compete for $36 billion in federal grants over the next five years, explained the national Rail Passenger Association’s Sean Jeans-Gail.

“For some perspective on California’s ability to compete for federal high-speed rail funds: in 2009, California’s project was awarded $3.5 billion from an $8 billion federal high-speed rail package. And that was when the project was still just a bunch of blueprints. Now, with construction ongoing throughout the Central Valley and detailed planning finished throughout the state, the route towards funding high-speed links all the way to Los Angeles and directly to San Francisco is coming into view.

“But federal budget items generally require state matching. That’s why the biggest remaining challenge to completing the project is the Democrat majority state legislature. Assemblymembers Anthony Rendon and Laura Friedman, ironically, don’t seem to want the project to ever reach their own constituents in Los Angeles. 

“This money is intended to allow operations to begin on the first segment, which would run from the Bay Area to Merced on conventional rail, and then continue to Bakersfield at over 200 mph, while direct connections to Los Angeles and San Francisco are completed.

“As several people pointed out in replies to Rendon and Friedman’s [Instagram] post [promoting their role as California’s representatives at COP26], their climate reputation went up in a puff of carcinogenic diesel smoke when they came out against electrifying high-speed rail.”

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