California governor pulls plug on LA-SF high-speed train

Gov. Gavin Newsom pledges to scale back high-speed rail and twin tunnels projects in State of the State speech

Gavin Newsom To Scale Back, Not Abandon, California's High-Speed Rail

"I have nothing but respect for Governor Brown's and Governor Schwarzenegger's vision".

"Let's level about the high speed rail", Newsom said inside the state Capitol building in Sacramento. Later, he added, "we also need a fresh approach when it comes to meeting California's massive water challenges".

"Right now, there simply isn't a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. (Los Angeles)".

Newsom announced that he is cancelling the state's plan on the project during his first State of the State address.

To chair the board of the High-Speed Rail Authority, he named Lenny Mendonca, his administration's economic development director. Oil-rich California has been replacing in-state production for imported petroleum, to the enrichment of Saudi Arabia but to the detriment of California workers.

"Now, let's talk honestly about clean drinking water", he said before calling it a "moral disgrace" that some Californians still lack access to clean water. This is [California's] money, allocated by Congress for this project.

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom responded to Trump's tweet Wednesday evening. But he also praised Trump for his calls to lower prescription drug prices. California has spent $5.4 billion on the train so far.

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"He set audacious goals, and he's assembling a formidable team to achieve them", said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a Democrat. "We can align our economic and workforce development strategies, anchored by high-speed rail, and pair them with tools like opportunity zones, to form the backbone of a reinvigorated Central Valley economy". He does not believe a short rail line from Merced to Bakersfield will help the Central Valley. He also called for greater transparency of the project that has been beset by cost overruns and delays.

In addition to immigration, the governor criticized the White House on health care as "laser-focused - has been for years - on destroying the Affordable Care Act", blaming the end of the individual mandate to purchase insurance coverage for a sharp increase in premiums on California's state-run health care exchange.

Newsom said "we will continue our regional projects north and south", and committed to connecting the Central Valley to other parts of the state, finishing the Phase 1 environmental work which covers San Francisco to Los Angeles and Anaheim, and continuing to push for more federal and private funding.

"The status quo is not an option", the governor said of the contentious project. "This entire thing has now changed from whether or not there's going to be a high-speed rail to what's going to be left for central California". "During his speech, Governor Gavin Newsom, exhibited his commitment to doing the hard work to get the Valley to Valley connection done", said a statement from Kimberly Ellis, senior vice president of communications for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

"As many of you know, based on my previous comments and comments that I have made as recently as yesterday, I think this whole border issue is manufactured", said the California governor.

During his speech, Newsom praised state lawmakers for passing a bill previous year that aims to improve privacy protections for consumers.

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