Feinstein backs Jerry Brown's plan to merge Caltrans, high-speed rail

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Capitol Hill has shown little love for California’s high-speed rail project. Lawmakers from the Northeast want the money spent on a line from Boston to Washington; GOP members from California want the money to fix roads. California’s senior Sen. Dianne Feinstein is trying to put the proposal back on what she believes is the right track.

Feinstein says California could lose 3.5 billion federal dollars unless the state can get the high-speed rail project back “on a steady path to success.” Feinstein supports Gov. Jerry Brown’s idea of merging the High-Speed Rail Authority with Caltrans.

In a letter to the governor, Feinstein says the partnership could permit a rapid reassessment of the route, better decision making about the stages of construction and substantial progress on acquiring right of way. The state has until fall to meet the federal government’s deadline to begin construction.

Last week, the California High Speed Rail Peer Review Group declined to recommend the sale of bonds for the project, saying high-speed rail “represents an immense financial risk” to California.

This week the High-Speed Rail Authority lost its press secretary to Walmart.

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