"Let's be real, the current project as planned would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long. There's been too little oversight and not enough transparency".
California was one of the first USA states to champion a government-owned high-speed rail system like those that are ubiquitous in parts of Europe and Asia. "I think that was one of the big issues", said Shannon Grove. "But that's wrong and offensive". Newsom promised that this portion of rail, which he admitted critics called a "train to nowhere", would cut down on pollution and commute time for people in California's Central Valley. And they have suffered too many years of neglect from policymakers here in Sacramento.
It's typical for new governors to shake up key posts even when the transfer of power remains within a party, and the appointments Newsom announced in his State of the State showed he's moving in his own direction in policy areas considered a priority by his predecessor, former Gov.
The rail service was meant to decongest key airports and highways that have reached saturation points in the most populous and richest state in the nation. Imagine taking high-speed rail from Los Angeles to Chicago: a three-hour trip by plane becomes a 15-hour or longer trek across vast, empty spaces.
Newsom said high speed rail was about "economic transformation" of the Central Valley, and 'we can align our economic and workforce development strategies, anchored by High-Speed Rail, and pair them with tools like opportunity zones, to form the backbone of a reinvigorated Central Valley economy'. "We need to move ahead into the 21st", another added.
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Newsom also is replacing Brown's head of the board that oversee the project and is pledging to hold the project's contractors more accountable for cost overruns.
The Obama administration awarded the state a total of $3.5 billion in 2010 and California voters in 2008 approved almost $10 billion in bond proceeds. In all likelihood, he wants to use the money he'll save from not building the train on other big progressive aims, like single-payer health care coverage or propping up the state's overextended pension system for public employees.
Newsom also said that there "simply isn't a path" that connects the northern and southern regions.
UPDATE, Wednesday 5:50 p.m.: President Donald Trump responded to Newsom's call to focus on the Central Valley with a tweet demanding that California return the $3.5 billion to the federal government. We have the capacity to complete the rail between Merced and Bakersfield. "During his speech, Governor Gavin Newsom, exhibited his commitment to doing the hard work to get the Valley to Valley connection done", said a statement from Kimberly Ellis, senior vice president of communications for the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
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. "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".