California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he would be ending the state's plan to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The project, he said, would "cost too much" and "take too long" to be feasible.
What's the story?
Speaking to his constituents during his State of the State address Tuesday, Newsom said:
Let's level about the high speed rail. I have nothing but respect for Gov. [Jerry] Brown, and Gov. [Arnold] Schwarzenegger's vision. I share it. There's no doubt that our state's economy and quality of life depend on improving transportation. But let's be real. The current project, as planned, would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long. There's been too little oversight and not enough transparency. Right now there simply isn't a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.
The project was already years behind schedule, and, before its cancellation, was not due to be complete until 2033. Newsom did not, however, cancel a portion of this rail line that will stretch from Bakersfield to Merced and is already under construction. Newsom promised that this portion of rail, which he admitted critics called a "train to nowhere," would cut down on pollution and commute time for people in California's Central Valley.
He promised that this part of the project would be more transparent going forward.
The loss of a high speed rail line between two major cities will likely be seen as a step in the wrong direction for proponents of the Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal, published by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Thursday, called for building out "high-speed rail at a scale where air travel stops becoming necessary" as well as creating "affordable public transit available to all, with goal to replace every combustion-engine vehicle." Ocasio-Cortez has since denied that parts of the document her campaign released on Thursday were actually part of the official Green New Deal that she backed.