McCarthy questions viability of high-speed rail in California

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Rep. Kevin McCarthy raised questions about the ability to recapture the investment of California’s proposed high-speed rail project during the Dec. 6 hearing of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

“The current plan to be finished — at the smallest level — asks for another $38 billion from the federal government. Please put that in perspective. The debate we’re wrestling over for the rest of the month, on our fiscal cliff, if you raised all the dollars and raised all the taxes that is proposed, you only get $31 billion in a year. And they’re [California High-Speed Rail Authority] requesting more than what we would even get from that,” McCarthy said.

“Look, I know Hollywood happens to be in California, but this is not a Kevin Costner movie. If we built it, I don’t know if they will come. And that is not how we play with taxpayers’ money. It’s right to have this hearing, but it’s right to scrutinize, and before we move forward on anything, the Legislative Analyst’s Office and the Peer Review had the same questions to the business plan,” he said.

McCarthy’s comments have been met with a mixed reception in California, with the project’s supporters decrying the potetial job loss. However, none of the high-speed rail proponents have yet demonstrated a plan that indicates how those costs will be recouped.

The San Diego Union Tribune called McCarthy’s position the “sane, honest stance” in a Dec. 7 editorial.

“State voters were sold this project with what are now acknowledged to be very low cost estimates and preposteriously high ridership and job-creation estimates,” states the editorial, which commends McCarthy and his colleagues for opposing continuation of the project.

Story First Published: 2012-12-12