More Newsom Failure Theatre: Negotiations Break Down Over Funding of California's Bullet Train Boondoggle

(AP Photo)

In 13 years, the supposed $10 billion California Bullet Train, has now ballooned to a cost of $98 billion, and the first section between Bakersfield and Merced has not even been completed. Who goes from Bakersfield (Central Valley) to Merced (edge of the Bay Area) on a regular basis you ask? Not enough people to offset how much this is costing the American taxpayer.

The aphorism, “in for a penny, in for a pound,” comes to mind. With this boondoggle of a project that stupid people voted for in 2008 failing at every turn, Governor Gavin Newsom does the only thing he knows how to do: throw more money at it and assume it will resolve itself.

From the Los Angeles Times:

A battle to secure an additional $4.2 billion for the California bullet train has hit an impasse, with Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders failing to reach a compromise Friday.

His Hairfulness is still under threat of Recall. He, and his media sycophants claims he has the advantage, but if he continues to lose these battles, it will add additional fodder to the case for his removal.

Not that additional fodder is needed. This governor is a corrupt, inept disaster and he needs to be removed.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority was seeking the appropriation of all the remaining money from a 2008 bond act to continue building a partial operating system in the San Joaquin Valley. At the same time, a large coalition in the Assembly wants some of the money diverted to high-speed rail segments in Southern California and the Bay Area.

Unless the two sides resume talks soon, any additional money for the bullet train will have to be negotiated in 2022, forcing the rail project to dip further into the roughly $2-billion pot it has in hand.

Here is the actual rub: Newsom and the California High-Speed Rail Authority want those federal dollars promised in another boondoggle: the $3.5 trillion dollar infrastructure bill being battled in the Senate. In June, President Joe Biden restored $1 billion in funding for the bullet train that the Trump administration stripped in 2019.

However, The L.A. Times reported last month,

A roughly $1-trillion bipartisan package, which has passed the Senate but faces challenges in the House, makes no mention of the state’s high-speed rail effort, the nation’s largest infrastructure project.

Rep. John Garamendi (D-Walnut Grove), a senior member for the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, said he is assessing what language in the lengthy bill may help the project.

“We are trying to figure out how it might affect California,” he said. “There is no carve-out for California that we can find, but one word can change that.”

At best, the legislation could fund tens of billions of dollars in new passenger rail programs, but much of that is either already dedicated to other states or will be subject to fierce future competition among all the states.

And whether a $3.5-trillion budget reconciliation package that is moving through Congress might contain vast pockets of buried money for rail project is even less clear.

Surprisingly, the California Assembly, led by Laura Friedman (D-AD44), is fighting Governor Hair Gel’s assumption that we are his pet project’s piggy bank.

The negotiations were led by Assembly Transportation Chair Laura Friedman (D-Glendale), who has been pressing the bullet train project to improve its performance after a history of cost increases and schedule delays. Friedman has contended for months that there was no reason to give the rail authority the full $4.2-billion appropriation when it wasn’t needed in immediate years.

The negotiations began last spring; since then, the lines have hardened, as Newsom threw his support fully behind rail authority chief Brian Kelly.

“There is a decision to take it up in January,” Kelly said in a telephone interview Friday night. “Ultimately, we need the appropriation, and if we can’t get the appropriation this year, we will come back next year.”

Governor Hair Gel is being Mr. Stompy Foot, as his dreams of zero emissions and an electrified California appears to be dissipating. He can’t even keep the lights on in the state, but he wants only electric train cars. That will guarantee this “Train to Nowhere”—if it ever gets finished—will definitely be going nowhere.

Newsom has been adamant that the era of diesel trains must end.

The Legislature and Newsom were far apart when the talks broke down.

The rail project has money to keep going until next year, unless it gets hit with massive change orders from its contractors or other problems.

“Other problems,” you say? The bullet train construction has been fraught with them. The most recent: Last year, the unfinished bridge showed failure of the support cables which are supposed to hold the bridge up:

A series of errors by contractors and consultants on the California bullet train venture caused support cables to fail on a massive bridge, triggering an order to stop work that further delayed a project already years behind schedule, the Los Angeles Times has learned.

The bridge is longer than two football fields and is needed to shuttle vehicles over the future bullet train right of way and existing BNSF freight tracks in Madera County.

Authorities have yet to finalize a plan to repair the bridge. Late last year, crews installed temporary steel supports to prevent it from collapsing.

When you continue to reward corruption and failure, this is the result.

The Recall of Gavin Newsom, and the election of Assemblyman Kevin Kiley to replace him, would guarantee that the plug is pulled from this project that is already on life support.