Politics

The Ridiculous Bullet Train Continues to be a Headache for California

The bullet train that is meant to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco was marketed as a project of the future. But time and time again, the project is faced with one controversy after another. The project has become so flawed and so jumbled that even many Democrats are voicing their anger at the project.

Governor Newsom still wants the legislature to allot $4.2 billion to continue working on the Central Valley portion of the project. He had asked for the money in early 2021. The project has a cost of $105 billion, the largest investment in transportation in California history. But the project is nowhere near the timeline that they planned on having. The 119-mile area of construction for the Central Valley was supposed to be finished in 2017. The State had set a new deadline to be 2023 but it is now estimated to be finished in 2026, 9 YEARS BEHIND SCHEDULE. It gets a whole lot worse. Just 28 of the 66 structures have been finished, and 57% of the 1,850 utility relocation projects have not been completed even after construction began 10 years ago. 

The lack of progress has not only angered many conservatives who believe that the project is a massive waste of taxpayer money, it is also angering Democrats, including some in leadership. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said, “There is no confidence in the project.” Also speaking out is Assemblymember Laura Friedman who chairs the Assembly Transportation Committee. Friedman said, “It seems like there’s pressure being put on us to very quickly give them their money and just move on.” In 2008, the rail authority estimated that the total cost of the project would be $33 billion and would be finished by 2020. But with the project massively behind schedule, there is definitely a reason for a lack of confidence in the project, “We had an end date of 2020 and now we don’t have an end date.” said Rendon. 

Moving forward, Legislative Democrats may go against Newsom’s plan. Newsom’s “current project” scaled back the original project to a railway between Bakersfield and Merced. But even with that, there is still a massive amount of debate as to the future of the project. 

Photo Cred: California High-Speed Rail Authority