On June 6, U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) announced his intention to prevent appropriated funds from being used for the High Speed Rail (HSR) in the state of California.
Denham stated he would introduce an amendment to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill, H.R. 4745 on June 9 in order to achieve these ends.
“California’s high speed rail project comes nowhere close to what voters supported with Prop 1A in 2008,” said Rep. Denham. “Ridership numbers have decreased, ride times have slowed and estimated costs have skyrocketed. The CA HSR Authority has no viable plan to secure state funds or private money and in the meantime has spent billions in taxpayer dollars. Congress cannot authorize spending any more money on a project without a future.”
According to the California High-Speed Rail Authority website, Governor Edmund G. Brown highlighted the benefits of the HSR in his State of the State address, even declaring that it was a priority for his Administration.
“Electrified trains are part of the future,” Gov. Brown said in his address. “China already has 5000 miles of high speed rail and intends to double that. Spain has 1600 miles and is building more. More than a dozen other countries have their own successful high speed rail systems. Even Morocco is building one.”
Also in 2012, the Legislature approved the Budget Act of 2012 which would approve nearly $8 billion in federal and state funds for the construction of the first HSR in the Central Valley, according to the California HSR Authority website.
In January, Rep. Denham introduced the Responsible Rail and Deterring Deficiency Act (H.R. 3893), which was supported by every member of the California Republican delegation. The aim of the Act was to suspend all federal funding to California’s HSR project.
Rep. Denham also added an amendment to the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act (H.R. 7) in February 2012. This amendment was to ensure that highway bill income could not be spent on the California HSR.