New House majority leader promises to block Calif. railway funding

By Keith Laing : thehill – excerpt

Newly installed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) promised on Monday that he would “do all that I can to ensure not one dollar of federal funding goes to boondoggles like [California’s] high-speed rail.”

McCarthy and other Republicans in Washington and California have long been opposed to the controversial California high-speed rail project, which has received more than $3 billion from the Obama administration since 2009.

But McCarthy was recently elevated to the No. 2 position in the House Republican caucus following the defeat of former GOP Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) in his bid for re-election earlier this year.. (more)

Dollars into rails

By Eric Young : bizjournals.com – excerpt

Two major transit projects already under way depend on federal money that’s not certain

The fate of two major San Francisco transportation projects appears to hang in the balance in Washington, D.C.
Both the Central Subway and the state’s high-speed rail project, which would terminate in San Francisco, have budgets that are heavily reliant on major chunks of taxpayer money coming from Washington, D.C.
The Central Subway has budgeted some $983 million of its $1.5 billion budget — about 65 percent — to come from the feds. Meanwhile the California High-Speed Rail Authority is banking on about $42 billion from federally controlled dollars toward the overall price tag of $68 billion,…

(more)

Senator Yee gets an offer he can’t refuse

district5diary – excerpt

High-speed rail supporters: Ma, Brown, and Yee

Matier and Ross tell us how the financially ruinous $4.6 billion in high-speed rail bonds were passed in the State Senate last week:
It took a big behind-the-scenes push from the governor and organized labor—plus a slew of calls from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to fellow Democrats—to pull off the state Senate’s squeaker approval of high-speed rail Friday. There wasn’t a lot of arm twisting—just a final offer that 21 Democratic senators couldn’t refuse.
“That having something was better than nothing,” said state Sen. Leland Yee…
In any event, the Central Subway, Caltrain, and BART payments are arguably illegal under the high-speed rail Proposition 1A passed by voters in 2008, which will be sorted out by the many lawsuits against the high-speed rail project..
CalWatchdog on California’s dismal financial situation.

California high-speed rail funds face key vote in state Senate

By: Will Reisman : San Francisco Examiner – excerpt

The state Senate will vote today on releasing $2.7 billion in funds for California’s high-speed rail project, a decision that will likely define the fate of the $68 billion undertaking…

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner

We know that not everyone cares about the high-speed rail project, but many people are seeing the need for more maintenance on existing local systems rather than financing grandiose future projects in these times of economic uncertainty. Considering the Fed has already passed this on by, perhaps the state should put it on hold as well.

Central Subway going forward despite House’s vote to yank $850M in funds

By: Will Reisman : SF Examiner – excerpt

Despite the passage of a congressional amendment to strip future federal funds from San Francisco’s Central Subway project, Muni is moving forward with the plan as scheduled.

On Friday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved an amendment to the proposed federal transportation bill that would prevent about $850 million from being used for Muni’s Central Subway project. Muni has already received about $130 million from the federal government, but it is still waiting to hear back on a full funding grant application that would account for more than half the project’s price tag…

Bill could block high-speed rail money
The House of Representatives on Friday passed an amendment to a federal transportation bill introduced by a Central Valley congressman that would prevent funding for California’s high-speed rail project…

(more)

The House is not in the mood to spend money on big controversial California projects.