By John McClaughry
The crowning dream of Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s last term as governor was the great bullet train to whisk Californians from Los Angeles to San Francisco in under three hours. This was Brown’s leading contribution to the fight against climate change. Now Brown is retired – finally – from office, and his very green, liberal successor, Gavin Newsom, took a fresh look at what has grown from a $33 billion project to over $80 billion, and pulled the plug.
The state rail authority has spent more than $5 billion acquiring and destroying hundreds of properties but not yet laid tracks. Taxpayers have lost patience, and Gov. Newsom stated the obvious when he said that “there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to LA.” He says he’ll complete the 160 mile section from Bakersfield to Merced, far out in the central valley, but added “don’t call it the train to nowhere.” Not very convincing.
What the people out in the Valley want is not a high speed train, but irrigation water. The state has curtailed water to Valley farms to protect the Delta Smelt.
The Wall Street Journal editorialized that “California’s bullet train provides a miniature model of the Green New Deal. Alas, the main reason liberals like Mr. Newsom are likely turning against it is they are eager to redirect taxpayer money to entitlements and other green largesse.”
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.