Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bill to strip federal funding from rail project

California's Republican delegation in Congress has introduced a bill to strip federal funding from the state's high-speed rail project after court decisions stalled the project in the fall.

From the north state's Rep. Doug LaMalfa:
Representative Doug LaMalfa testified this week at a hearing of the House Transportation & Infrastructure’s Rail Subcommittee on the financial risk to federal and state budgets posed by California’s high-speed rail plan. Following the hearing, LaMalfa joined every Republican member of California’s Congressional delegation in introducing a bill to suspend federal funding for the project, H.R. 3893.

“After a state court ruled what anyone paying attention has known for years, that the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s plan violated voter-approved law, it’s time for Congress to end the gravy train," said LaMalfa. "We need to ask ourselves, as a federal body, whether we are being good stewards of Americans’ tax dollars, particularly now that California is prohibited from using state bonds to build the project. At a time when every aspect of federal spending is being scrutinized, is it appropriate to use borrowed federal dollars for this project?”

“From a price tag that has doubled and wildly exaggerated employment claims to false ridership and ticket price figures, the High-Speed Rail Authority has never been truthful with Californians or the federal government,” added LaMalfa. “The claims made in attempts to prop it up have reached the level of farce. Governor Jerry Brown has proposed using funds meant for carbon reduction to prop up the plan, even as the Authority itself admits that it plans to plant thousands of trees to offset the system’s massive emissions.”
Video footage of LaMalfa's testimony is here. In signing on as a sponsor, LaMalfa makes good on a promise he made in November, when he called the project "dead in the water" as a result of the court rulings.

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