The idea long championed by Newsom’s predecessor, Jerry Brown, is years behind schedule. The latest estimate for completion is 2033.
UPDATE: Following Californa Gov. Gavin Newsom's Feb. 12 announcement that he drop plans to construct a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, President Trump demanded that the state return $3.5 billion in federal dollars that had gone to fund the project.
On Feb. 13, Trump tweeted, "California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars. They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a "green" disaster!"
Newsom has clarified that the state would still complete Phase One of the $77 billion project, connecting Bakersfield and Merced by rail, saying that California would need to continue construction to avoid losing the federal funds.
Feb. 12, 2019 — SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Feb. 12, he's abandoning a plan to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, a project with an estimated cost that has ballooned to $77 billion.
"Let's be real," Newsom said in his first State of the State address. "The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long. There's been too little oversight and not enough transparency."
The idea long championed by Newsom's predecessor, Jerry Brown, is years behind schedule. The latest estimate for completion is 2033.
Newsom, though, said he wants to finish construction that's already under way on a segment of the high-speed train through California's Central Valley, arguing it will revitalize the economically depressed region. He's also replacing Brown's head of the state board that oversees the project and pledged more accountability for contractors that run over on costs.
Newsom also said the state faces "hard decisions that are coming due" on clean water, housing and homelessness. He rebuked President Donald Trump once again on border security, highlighting his decision to withdraw most of the state's National Guard troops from the Southern border.
"Last week, we heard (Trump) stand up at the State of the Union and offer a vision of an America fundamentally at odds with California values," he said. "He described a country where inequality didn't seem to be a problem, where climate change didn't exist, and where the greatest threat we face comes from families seeking asylum at the border."
Brown had agreed to deploy troops at the Trump administration's request last year, although he said they couldn't participate in immigration enforcement.
Newsom, though, said there's been a "gray area" in the troops duties that may have allowed some to inadvertently participate in immigration activities, although a Guard official said the state's troops have not helped detain anyone.
Newsom disputed Trump's claim there is a crisis on the border and any need for National Guard troops was eliminated when Trump chose earlier this month to add 3,750 more U.S. troops at the border.
But Newsom's speech went beyond immigration and other disagreements with the White House to his own ambitious policy goals for the state.
Newsom has laid out his vision for California twice already, in his inaugural address and through his first crack at the state budget. He spent his first month in office traveling to different parts of the state promoting his ideas on housing, juvenile justice and the environment.
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