Is California's high-speed rail project dead?
Well . . . it's definitely hit the brakes.
That's due to the deferment of a $647 million federal grant for the electrification of Caltrain, which has put a hold on plans to finish California’s high-speed rail project.
The delay was prompted by a letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao from 14 Congressional Republicans. It called for a full audit to be completed prior to any grant approval. Funding would have paid for a 50-mile electrical power system for both Caltrain and a potential high speed rail to travel from San Jose to San Francisco, and critics of the move are describing this as the Trump Administration’s attack on the state of California. Gov. Jerry Brown last week asked the president’s administration to reverse the decision to withhold the grant. And senators Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein are among lawmakers who have expressed their support of funding the project.
So what’s the future of the high-speed rail? Larry weighs in with experts on the project to find out.
Ethan Elkind, Director of the Climate Change and Business Program, a joint program between UCLA and UC Berkeley schools of law. He is the author of “Railtown: The Fight for the Los Angeles Metro Rail and the Future of the City” (University of California Press, 2014); he tweets @EthanElkind