California’s high-speed rail project will get some much-needed money, but it will not be included in the winning lottery group.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a budget surplus of more than $100 billion, and has promoted a long list of new spending proposals. The high-speed rail project that will connect San Francisco to Los Angeles is not on that list. Instead, Newsom said it would give the line $4.2 billion to finish the first 119-mile segment. The money comes from a bond voters approved back in 2008 for the project. The Biden administration also will help by restoring $929 million in federal funding that was blocked by the Trump administration.
However, that still leaves the project short tens of billions of dollars. Newsom will use a portion of the budget surplus for other transportation needs, including $1 billion for projects needed for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics and another $1 billion for other priority transit and rail projects.
The high-speed rail line’s bond money was in jeopardy when several state lawmakers tried to divert the funding for other transit projects they believed would provide more immediate benefits.
Newsom is calling the federal government a “real partner” for the high-speed rail system, and President Biden announced $80 billion for new rail projects as part of his $2.3 trillion stimulus bill. Congress, however, has not made any progress on the bill.
With enough money to finish the 119-mile segment in the Central Valley, the California High Speed Rail Authority is hoping service starts by the end of the decade.