Key California lawmakers have devised a plan to shift billions of dollars from the Central Valley bullet train to rail projects in Southern California and the Bay Area, a strategy that could crush the dreams of high-speed rail purists.
The move is a response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan earlier this year to direct all of the remaining bullet train funds into the San Joaquin Valley and build a partial high-speed system from Bakersfield to Merced at a cost of $20.5 billion.
Assembly Democrats see greater public value in improving passenger rail from Burbank to Anaheim, relieving congestion on the busy Interstate 5 corridor before the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and putting additional money into San Francisco commuter rail. The proposal has been taken more seriously in recent weeks, and supporters think it will meet the tricky legal requirements of the high-speed rail project.
“I like the concept,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). “Any project that doesn’t have a significant amount of service to the largest areas in the state doesn’t make much sense.”
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