SAN FRANCISCO — A potentially revolutionary initiative to make public transportation from one end of California to the other may be in jeopardy, due to disagreements on how to fund it.
The California High-Speed Rail (CHSR) system would take travelers from Northern California to Southern California in less than three hours. While the idea is bold, it seems to be too bold on the costs. Members of the Assembly in the California State Legislature have refused to give into the demands of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, who’s asking for additional funding for the project.
One lawmaker, Jim Frazier, a Democrat, who is an extremely vocal critic, taking aim at the CHSR Authority, calls the project “embarrassing,” and has “lost all confidence” in the group to do the job.
Frazier was joined by Speaker of the Assembly, Democrat Anthony Rendon and 63 of the 80 members of the Assembly, to reject the CHSR Authority’s plan to construct the Central Valley segment of the rail system. However, they plan to move forward with the project, regardless of the assembly vote.
Construction in the Central Valley for the rail system already started in 2015, as the CHSR Authority began going to work on a few dozen construction sites in the area. Their funding may be drying up, due in part because of COVID-19, along with the state Legislature refusing to fund it any further, for the time being.
One of the most notable allies that the CHSR Authority has left among politicians is Governor Gavin Newson, the former Mayor of San Francisco, who has championed the project from the beginning.
Unlike, Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, who has recently become skeptical of the project, Newsom has taken a more pragmatic tone, but remains generally optimistic that it will move forward.