Kern leaders laud Newsom’s stance on HSR

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Kern County elected officials lauded Gov. Gavin Newsom’s comments Tuesday in his State of the State address to end the high-speed rail project, a venture backed by former Gov. Jerry Brown to build a bullet train the length of California.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Newsom’s announcement “confirms what many Californians knew already — with no business plan and no funding, this project is, and has been, a boondoggle for taxpayers.

“I’m glad to see California’s ineffective and wasteful high-speed rail project is finally arriving at its deserved destination – extinction. For years, I joined Californians across our state in urging former Governor Brown and the California State Legislature to stop this wasteful boondoggle, and I applaud that Governor Newsom has taken a prudent and objective reassessment of this project. The project has been half-baked since its inception, and Californians have been misled about the ever-growing costs at every turn.

“I look forward to working with Governor Newsom and federal officials in the coming weeks to best mitigate what has already been wasted on high-speed rail due to the previous administration.”

Newsom acknowledged that achieving a Los Angeles-to-San Francisco route is unrealistic, but pushed for a continuance on the Bakersfield-to-Fresno train.

Assemblyman Vince Fong said he appreciated the governor’s acknowledgment of cost overruns and lack of transparency, but questioned moving forward with any part of the rail plan.

“He completely recast the project, but now this is a bait-and-switch on Californians. We should scrap this failed project entirely.”

Fong also praised Newsom for announcing forms to streamline housing developments, “which my Republican colleagues and I have urged for many years.”

However, he urged the current administration to “get back to basics — solve housing affordability, traffic congestion, cost of living and public safety.”

Story First Published: 2019-02-15