SACRAMENTO—California Governor Gavin Newsom has changed his mind on the California light rail during the California State of the State Address on Tuesday, February 12.
“You may not be clapping at the end of this, so sit down,” Newsom said to the crowd at the beginning of his address.
He stated that building a $77 billion light-rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles is unrealistic at this point, according Assembly Access video of the Address.
“Let’s be real,” said Governor Newsom. “The current (rail) project, as planned, would cost too much and, respectfully, would take too long.”
He addressed a plan for a light rail from Merced to Bakersfield.
Governor Newsom indicated the Valley’s air pollution levels and long commute are issues that could be fixed by this light-rail proposal.
His decision to temporarily abandon the San Francisco to Los Angeles light rail project differentiated from the previous California Governors, Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger, who supported the project.
“Next, let’s level about High-Speed Rail. I have nothing but respect for Governor Brown’s and Governor Schwarzenegger’s ambitious vision. I share it. And there’s no doubt that our state’s economy and quality of life depend on improving transportation. But let’s be real. The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to LA. I wish there were,” said Newsom.
“Abandoning high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it,” added Newsom.