Governor Gavin Newsom's plan to re-purpose funds originally allocated to the high speed rail system, could go off course. Earlier this year, Newsom had the idea to transfer those funds into a partial high speed rail system from Bakersfield to Merced. The cost of this project would be nearly $20.5 billion. California lawmakers have questioned that plan as investing a significant amount of funds into sparse areas does not make sense to them.
“I like the concept,” said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood). “Any project that doesn’t have a significant amount of service to the largest areas in the state doesn’t make much sense.”
Instead, lawmakers would prefer the funds be used on improving commuter systems in congested areas like LA and San Francisco.
“I can’t stand by and watch billions of dollars being spent in the hopes of future ridership in the Central Valley, while there is thirst for faster and better train service in Orange and Los Angeles counties,” said Assemblyman Tom Daly (D-Anaheim). “It is time.”
The plan would be to improve a rail from Burbank to Anaheim to assist with the 5 freeway traffic. This could especially come in handy before the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Assembly Democrats say.
Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) adds, “We need to make sure we put investment into areas of the state where we get the biggest bang for the buck. I would like to see Los Angeles get its fair share and more than we have gotten so far.”
In addition, funds would also be used for a commuter rain in San Francisco.