Governor Newsom Recommits to Cal Bullet Train

Remember when the mainstream press wrongly claimed Newsom was against High-Speed Rail?

Then-Mayor and long-time HSR supporter Gavin Newsom on a photo-op with his wife and François Lacôte of the French TGV system during a trip to France. Photo: SF Mayor's office
Then-Mayor and long-time HSR supporter Gavin Newsom on a photo-op with his wife and François Lacôte of the French TGV system during a trip to France. Photo: SF Mayor's office

California Governor Gavin Newsom has reaffirmed his unequivocal support for California’s high-speed rail project in a video and tweet posted yesterday afternoon. “This is the future of transportation in California” he says in the video:

“Let’s hear it for our great Governor, for standing up for our state’s high-speed rail project even during the hard times! That’s called courage and Governor Newsom just showed us that he’s made of the right stuff!” wrote Rod Diridon, Sr., Emeritus Chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, in an email about the post. “The federal government’s new $2 trillion infrastructure bill will help complete the link to the bay area if we’re ready. Please tell you local state senators and assembly members that they must confirm that we’re ready by approving the revised CHSRA business plan and wishing the project well with a vote of confidence.”

Streetsblog readers may recall that back in late 2019, articles in the mainstream press wrote that Newsom was “scrapping” the project. And Anti-HSR (and anti-Democracy) Bakersfield Congressmember Kevin McCarthy also stated, wrongly, that Newsom was stopping the project:

The conclusions of McCarthy and some of the press were based on a confusing segment of Newsom’s state of the state speech that year in which he said, among other things, that “Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.”

Newsom’s office immediately clarified that he was not abandoning the project, but was merely expressing concern about how to get it funded through to completion. However, HSR opponents, including those in the mainstream press, continued to misconstrue the statements to mean he was killing it outright, or at lest severely truncating it.

Of course, with the Biden Administration expressing its commitment to HSR regularly now, the path to completion is rapidly solidifying. And with this latest statement from Newsom, any confusion about his determination to see it through has now been obliterated.

Still waiting for some retractions, or at least some corrections, McCarthy et al.

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A rendering of the Pacheco pass alignment. Image: CaHSRA

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The next step towards getting the San Francisco to Merced section of California's High-speed Rail project shovel-ready was taken Friday with the completion of a required environmental study of the alignment. This all-important connection between the Central Valley and Silicon Valley has been a "long time coming and this is a big milestone," said Boris Lipkin, Northern California Regional Director.