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Lack Of High-speed Rail Support

Washington, DC — 4th District Rep. Tom McClintock and 12 other California Republican U.S. congressmen are attempting to derail the possibility of any end-of-year federal funding for the nation’s first high-speed rail in California (HSR).

A signature project of Governor Jerry Brown, HSR, endorsed by President Barack Obama, has received $3.5 billion in initial federal funding, to date, as part of the president’s 2009 economic stimulus plan. Last Friday, in a letter, sent by 10th District Rep. Jeff Denham and co-signed by McClintock and all but two of the state’s Republican U.S. Congressional representatives, the legislators requested House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers and Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey to include provisions in end-of-year House appropriations expressly prohibiting federal spending on HSR. Reasons given range from current HSR plan structure and costs, to proposed locations for some of the rail lines.

The letter opines that the HSR plan is “light-years removed” from the one that voters approved in 2008 under Prop 1A and further says that the California High Speed Rail Authority “is trying to spend money it doesn’t have on the false assumption that more federal funds are coming.”

The letter describes project costs as having “ballooned” from $33 billion to $68 billion. It goes on to criticize the Authority for not having a “viable business plan” to show how the HSR will be funded, and for “assuming that federal taxpayers will foot the bill.” The letter additionally rebukes the Authority for “continually” failing to keep the project off agricultural land.

The congressmen specifically request the House Appropriations Committee to include the Denham Amendment in an end-of-year-funding vehicle for the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 4745). The amendment, which passed the House in June with a 227-186 vote, specifically prohibits use of federal funds within the bill for HSR or for the Authority.