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Gov. Newsom Kicks SF High-Speed Rail Down the Track

14 February 2019

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is preparing to deliver his first State of the State address a day after declaring he wouldn't participate in the Trump administration's "political theater" over border security.

Newsom disputed Trump's claim there is a crisis on the border and any need for National Guard troops was eliminated when Trump chose earlier this month to add 3,750 more USA troops at the border. Newsom at his speech also criticized the president's "fear mongering" over immigration. "We're more united than ever, and we're not going back". He also wants to expand California's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, to immigrants under age 26 living in the state illegally.

"I'm not interested in making the same old mistakes", Newsom said.

Despite receiving $3.5 billion in federal funding, the $77 billion initiative "cost [s] too much and, respectfully, [was taking] too long", said Newsom during his State of the State address.

"I don't know what the right adjective is without coming off as hyperbolic; the whole thing is ridiculous", Newsom said.

California Governor Gavin Newsom used his first State of the State address Tuesday to drop twin bombshells: He wants to dramatically downsize the $77 billion high-speed rail project and his predecessor's dream of a enormous pair of tunnels delivering water under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

The embattled $77-billion bullet train has been an embarrassment for the Golden State and has been plagued by problems nearly from the start. The project's price tag at one point hit $99 billion.

He said he supports finishing the controversial high-speed rail line between Bakersfield and Merced but needs to reassess the crucial legs connecting major urban centers in the Bay Area and Los Angeles. He acknowledged critics would ding this move as a "train to nowhere, but I think that's wrong and I think that's offensive".

"But let's just get something done", he said.

Facebook had no comment on Newsom's proposal, but told Barron's it remains open to privacy legislation.

Construction on the rail line began in 2015 in Fresno under Phase One, and since then crews have been working on 119-mile (191-kilometer) stretch in the Central Valley.

But other Republicans scorned the governor for trying to have it both ways. Jeff Stone, R-La Quinta.

Gary Reyes/TNS/NewscomCalifornia's wasteful, expensive, and likely doomed-to-fail statewide bullet train project is getting killed. "We can align our economic and workforce development strategies, anchored by high-speed rail, and pair them with tools like opportunity zones, to form the backbone of a reinvigorated Central Valley economy".

The main reason: if the project was canceled the state would have to return $3.5 billion from the federal government.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is creating a new commission on homelessness and housing to address one of California's most hard problems.

This effectively puts an end to former governor Jerry Brown's "legacy" project, the lone tangible accomplishment for a second gubernatorial stint that had been far better at raising taxes and imposing draconian legislation than building things.

Gov. Newsom Kicks SF High-Speed Rail Down the Track