Climate

Orange County Republicans target failed Bullet Train project

Written by Destiny Garcia

The California Bullet Train project began in 2008 with the goal to create a more effective and eco-friendly way of transportation. While the train would be useful for those who travel through the state, it has been delayed for over twelve years now. The original plan was for the train to be completed by 2020 and cost a total of $33 billion. The revised plan estimates it will be completed by 2033 and cost far more than originally anticipated.

Orange County Assemblywoman Laurie Davies has pushed to end the Bullet Train project. She also requested that the project return the $54 million that is currently allocated for it so that money can be used for local transit and infrastructure projects. The State Transit Assistance fund has dropped 39% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so funding is much needed.

Before Davies was elected, she stressed the importance of spending money wisely and only “on our most important government functions.”

“This money has been sitting here since 2013 and hasn’t been used for the high-speed rail,” said Davies, who’s on the Assembly’s transportation committee.

“We’ve got shovel-ready projects,” she added. “This will benefit everyone in California.”

In 2019 the Trump administration canceled $929 million in federal funding that was approved over nine years ago, due to the great lack of progress and California’s failure to follow the terms of the agreement.

Michelle Steel, a member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, is also taking aim at the Bullet Train. She has proposed a bill that would stop federal funding from being used on the high-speed rail project. Her reasoning is much the same; the project has had various changes which have caused massive delays and increased the cost dramatically. She shares the belief that taxpayer dollars can be used more effectively in other ways.

“Costs have continued to rise, while people and businesses have lost their properties,” Steel said. “The sections of the high-speed rail that do exist are inoperable and this is an unacceptable and an embarrassing waste of taxpayer dollars.”

Photo via High-Speed Rail Authority