Rep. Steel Statement on “Failed Train to Nowhere”
Biden Administration returned $929 million in federal money to State of California for failed project
(June 11, 2021) Washington, D.C. – Following reports that the Biden Administration is returning $929 million to the State of California for their failed high-speed rail project, Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48) released the below statement:
“For nearly a decade, California has thrown taxpayer money at this money pit project. The project, which has been scaled back while the price tag balloons, has no realistic timeline for completion. The Biden Administration needs to stop using American taxpayers’ paychecks as an endless piggy bank and not one more dime of federal money should be going towards this failed train to nowhere.”
In March, Rep. Steel introduced the Stop the High-Speed Money Pit Act, which would prevent more federal money from going towards the state’s high-speed rail project. The project started in 2009, with the goal of building a high-speed rail train from Los Angeles to San Francisco that would be fully operable by 2020. After more than a decade, the project’s price tag has ballooned from about $33 billion to more than $100 billion with no segments in operation and no realistic timeline for when the rail line will be completed. The project received over $2 billion in funding from the Obama Administration that requires the first segment to be operable by 2022. In 2019, the Trump administration cancelled $929 million in federal funding for the project. The Biden Administration’s decision to return the $929 million was announced yesterday.
During this week’s House Transportation and Infrastructure markup of the committee’s surface transportation legislation, Rep. Steel and Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-01) introduced an amendment to divert all $3.5 billion of federal funding for the high-speed rail 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. Democrats on the committee rejected the amendment.