Republicans Want to Take $2 Billion Away from State

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Nov 23, 2010  |  Updated 4:05 PM PDT
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Republicans Want to Take $2 Billion Away from State

Nice looking railroad you (almost) got there. Sure would be a shame if something happened to it.

Republican leaders are looking to de-fund California's high-speed rail project by about $2 billion dollars. The entire project is expected to cost $43 billion, so that chunk of change would be a pretty significant cut, especially since the federal funds had been set aside to jump-start initial work.

The effort's being led by U.S. Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, who has introduced an act to rescind cash that was provided by the Democrats' Recovery and Reinvestment Act. High-speed rail projects are a particular target of Lewis' proposed measure, and California's is the largest in the nation.

The next few months could be do-or-die for high-speed rail. The state planned to spend that money to lay tracks in the central valley by September of 2012. Lewis would also cut funding for the Doyle Drive replacement project, a much-needed replacement for the rickety, decades-old approach to the Golden Gate Bridge. Doyle Drive is known to be vulnerable to earthquakes.

If the railroad is further delayed, that means travelers will have to endure more months or even years of air-travel. Perhaps the intrusive new genital-nudging searches at airports will motivate travelers to demand an alternative to flight.

Lewis has shown himself to be no friend of government spending. In 2008, he voted against a bailout of the auto industry. Between his resistance to rail and his resistance to cars, it seems as though Lewis is hoping that Americans will just stay home. After all, with all the construction jobs that could be killed by his latest money-grab, fewer people will have to go to work.

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