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

Gavin Newsom

"Let's be real, the current project as planned would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long".

Gov. Gavin Newsom is creating a new commission on homelessness and housing to address one of California's most hard problems.

Newsom called for the state to scale back the focus of its high speed rail project to focus on one portion in the Central Valley. He also proposed another $100 million for "whole person care" services to homeless people. Steinberg previously was leader of the state Senate. His administration recently sued the Orange County city of Huntington Beach, accusing it of not meeting its affordable housing goals.

"Right now, there simply isn't a path" to complete the full line, said Newsom of the plan championed by his two predecessors, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown.

Voters approved a ballot initiative in 2008 that set aside a $10 billion bond to begin the project of building a high-speed rail line from Los Angeles to San Francisco with the promise that more funding would come through from the feds or from private sources, that the train would not require subsidies to operate, and that it would help fight climate change.

"Newsom also promised to have a plan within 60 days for dealing with the recent bankruptcy filing by Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. after years of devastating wildfires. There's been too little oversight and not enough transparency", Newsom said in his first State of the State Address to lawmakers on Tuesday.

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He said he has convened a team of the nation's best bankruptcy lawyers and financial experts from the energy sector to work with his administration to develop a strategy to protect the state's power grid, wildfire victims, company employees and ratepayers. Latest estimates pin the cost at $77 billion and completion in 2033.

But Brown stressed the agreement was to "support efforts to go after criminal gangs, human traffickers and drug smugglers" and "would not be used to enforce federal immigration policies", The New York Times reported. He says building the line could bring economic transformation to the agricultural region.

"The Democratic governor acknowledged critics who want the state to abandon the project entirely, but said he doesn't want to waste the billions already spent on the project, nor does he want to return $3.5 billion the state has received in federal funding", writes the Sacramento Bee.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is preparing to deliver his first State of the State address a day after declaring he wouldn't participate in the Trump administration's "political theater" over border security.

In his speech, Newsom rejected Trump's rhetoric about an "emergency" at the border as part of a "manufactured crisis", noting that data has shown that undocumented immigrants are generally less likely to commit crimes than native-born citizens.

FILE PHOTO: California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom speaks after being elected governor of the state during an election night party in Los Angeles, California, U.S. November 6, 2018. He's already laid out ambitious goals on housing, juvenile justice and the environment.

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