Brown gets flak for moving ahead on high speed rail

August 18, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gov. Jerry Brown is drawing criticism from state legislators for moving ahead with plans to build a high-speed rail system.

Brown says he will soon appoint a commissioner to fill a vacant seat on the agency's governing board, but some lawmakers want him to abandon the entire plan. They say building a high-speed rail system is too costly and would just worsen the state's finances. A Republican state senator says it's time to derail the project.

"I'm interested in stopping right now because we've only invested a tiny tip of the iceberg of what the true cost is going to be. Yes, we are probably about $600 million into it so far, but that's a fraction of a $100 billion," said St. Sen. Doug La Malfa, R-Butte.

The first portion of the high speed rail project, between Merced and Bakersfield, has already doubled in cost.

The Bay Area portion also faces a skyrocketing price tag, especially if elevated rail lines need to be built in some neighborhoods.