Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-Richvale) and Representative Michelle Steel (R-CA) introduced an amendment today during the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee markup of surface transportation legislation to divert all $3.5 billion of federal funding for California’s failed High Speed Rail (CAHSR) project towards the successful Railway-Highway Crossings Program that has helped rural and urban communities improve highway and rail grade crossings, which helps eliminate hazards and save lives. Also known as the Section 130 Program, the Railway-Highway Crossings Program has reduced fatalities at crossings by 57%, despite a significant increase in both highway and railway traffic.
LaMalfa said, “We have wasted over 13 years and billions of dollars on the California high speed rail boondoggle without transporting a single passenger. That is a remarkable record of failure, and it is past time to stop the bleeding. Let’s put an end to pouring limited taxpayer dollars down a hole and instead invest in programs like the Railway-Highway Crossing Program that are proven to be good investments and make highways and railroads safer.”
Steel said, “California’s High Speed Rail Project is a failure, and not one more taxpayer dime should go towards this money pit project. We should be focusing on boosting passenger safety and improving our existing highways and railroads – not wasting taxpayer money on a train to nowhere.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, CAHSR cost estimates have gone from roughly $33 billion when the project first started to over $100 billion and are still rising. The total remaining project cost could be as high as $99.8 billion. Since its 2008 announcement, the project has been consistently plagued with cost overruns and delays that continue with no end in sight, and its expected completion has been pushed to over a decade from now.
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