GOP could put brakes on California high speed rail

November 4, 2010 5:52:20 AM PDT
The California high speed rail project that would connect the Bay Area to Southern California has hit a massive new bump in the form of the new power shift in Congress.

San Jose's Diridon station is one location high-speed rail is planned to pass through. Currently the federal government has awarded California more than $3 billion for its high speed rail project tying Sacramento and the Bay Area to Los Angeles and San Diego. That money could now be pulled because of the election's change in party leadership in the house.

The Republican lawmaker in line to head up the House Transportation Committee says he wants to reexamine $10 billion in federal grants for high-speed rail projects nationwide.

It's been one of President Obama's signature programs for developing infrastructure. But now the committee's ranking GOP member, Rep. John Mica of Florida, is speaking out, saying he doesn't agree with the transportation department's funding selections. It's not high speed rail that he opposes, but rather where it's built.

The GOP rep says that regions like California may not use high-speed trains enough to financially support such service. The soon to be Republican led House Transportation Committee may reexamine projects in more densely populated locations like the northeast corridor, a region that didn't receive much federal funding. Already many cities on the Bay Area Peninsula oppose the route of the high-speed trains running through their cities because of noise and other reasons.

Thursday morning in Sacramento the California High Speed Rail Authority is meeting. On its agenda is a discussion of alternative train routes between San Francisco and San Jose. It's unclear whether the federal grants will be pulled from California, but that may also be a hot topic.


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