U.S. Representative Jeff Denham (R-Turlock) sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers and Committee Ranking Member Nita Lowey on Dec. 5 requesting that end-of-year appropriations measures include provisions to prohibit federal spending on California high-speed rail (CA HSR).
“California’s high-speed rail plan is light-years removed from what voters approved in 2008 with Prop 1A,” said Denham. “The California High Speed Rail Authority is trying to spend money it doesn’t have on the false assumption that more federal funds are coming. No taxpayer should have to spend any further money on skyrocketing expenses they never supported.”
Rep. Denham’s letter was signed by a number of other House members including Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01), Devin Nunes (R-CA-22), Paul Cook (R-CA-08), Ed Royce (R-CA-39), John Campbell (R-CA-45), Darrell Issa (R-CA-49), Duncan Hunter (R-CA-50), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA-48), Buck McKeon (R-CA-25), Gary Miller (R-CA-31), Ken Calvert (R-CA-42) and Tom McClintock (R-CA-04).
In the letter it is explained that project costs have significantly increased, originally starting at $33 billion, then increasing to over $100 billion; the current figure now stands at $68 billion.
The authors argue that the CA HSR Authority has failed to keep the project off of agricultural land and has not offered a viable business plan explaining where funds for the project will come from, making the assumption that federal taxpayers will be expected to absorb the cost.
The CA HSR project, which was approved by voters in 2008, has been altered over time, and many propose that it does not reflect accurately the voice of the voters in its present state.
Upon his reelection in November, Denham made a similar statement the matter.
“We have to have trust in government that if you pass something on the ballot, like California High Speed Rail, then they’re going to live by what voters had passed, and if it doesn’t, then it should go back before the voters, or it should get canceled all together,” said Denham.
The Appropriations Committee, in the letter, is asked to include the Denham Amendment in their funding vehicle, H.R. 4745, the “Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015.”
The amendment, as offered by Denham, and adopted by the House in a 227-186 vote, would prohibit the use of federal funds within H.R. 4745 for high-speed rail in California, and the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2015 was passed by the House and received in the Senate; it has been placed on their Legislative Calendar.
To read the letter, click here.
To read H.R. 4745, which includes the Denham Amendment (H.Amdt. 823) in Sec. 439 on page 162 of the Act, click here.