The LA Times brings us the news that our newly elected governor Gavin Newsom has put the kibosh on his predecessor’s pet project, the ambitious 200 mph “bullet train” that would eventually run between San Diego and the San Francisco Bay area. The currently abuilding rail segment between Bakersfield and Merced is to be completed, but that will be it. At least for now. The Times cites “the project’s persistent cost overruns, mismanagement and delays” as factors that make the high speed train line unviable. It “will have to be reassessed.” Phil Willow and Taryn Luna, Gov. Gavin Newsom Pledges to Scale Back High-Speed Rail and Twin-Tunnels Projects in State of the State Speech, LA Times, Feb. 12, 2018.
Over the years, we have been critical of the efforts to build this “bullet” train because after its announcement, and after snookering the voters into approving what turned out to be a grossly inadequate bond issue, the project became mired in local politics over route selection — politicians wanted their locales to be served by the new train, while lots of their constituents did not, citing noise and safety concerns.
Also, along with this announcement stopping the “bullet train” fiasco, the new governor let it be known that he would scale down another one of his predecessor’s grandiose project — twin tunnels under the Sacramento delta, that would carry water from the wet part of northern California to the parched south. Only one tunnel is now to be built instead of two.
For additional commentary on cancellation of the LA to Bay Area misbegotten “bullet train” see the article by Joel Kotkin and co-author, appearing in the City Journal go to
Follow up. Coming on the heels of the semi-demise of California’s “bullet train” comes the news that the feds who have been feeding this fiscal disaster, want their money back. The are cancelling some $929 million in federal grants, and are about to demand that California repay the $2.5 billion that the feds have already forked over. Californians don’t like the idea of this claw-back. Looks like the makings of another intergovernmental donnybrook that is bound to wind up in the courts. Stay tuned.