Politics, government and public life for Southern California

CA Congressman's new post another roadblock for high speed rail?

Courtesy California High Speed Rail Authority

A rendering of a station for high-speed rail in California.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was on Capitol Hill today to reassure Californians that high speed rail is one of President Obama's highest priorities. It's not necessarily the top priority on Capitol Hill.

Republican Congressman Jeff Denham of Fresno has been one of the most vocal critics of California's high speed rail project. In 2012, he introduced an amendment to the transportation bill that would have forbidden a dime to be spent on the project.

Denham says the lack of promised private investors in a project that's more than doubled its budget means California taxpayers and the federal government are left holding the bag.

Denham was just named chairman of the railroads subcommittee on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Denham says rail transportation is "the backbone of America's economy" and he's looking for "more cost-effective and innovative approaches" to passenger and freight rail service.

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