Jumping ship on plans for California’s high-speed rail

Adam Jablonowski Contributor
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In his 2010 State of the Union address, President Obama promoted a high-speed rail project as part of his stimulus spending plans. After Tuesday night’s address, however, the administration’s devotion to the idea has apparently jumped the tracks.

“Tomorrow, I’ll visit Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act,” Obama proclaimed two years ago. “There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our nation’s goods, services, and information.”

But just before Obama ascended the dais for his 2012 State of the Union speech, the office of the California State Auditor issued a warning that financing for the train has become “increasingly risky.” The report concluded that state lawmakers should reevaluate their decision to complete the project.

California has secured roughly $12 billion for the first leg, which would run from Los Angeles to San Francisco. But revenue of over $100 billion is necessary to complete the rail system.

“[T]he program’s overall financial situation has become increasingly risky, in part because the authority has not provided viable funding alternatives in the event its planned funding does not materialize,” the auditor’s report stated.

With no immediate funding mechanism, the rail system Obama touted two years ago is on hold indefinitely.

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