GOP rep: Calif. high-speed rail is ‘pipe dream’

Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) said that if California can’t find $55 billion its high-speed rail project is a “pipe dream.”

“The California High Speed Rail Authority faces a $55 billion funding gap and has yet to demonstrate any ability to generate the funds required,” Denham said on Tuesday. “Unfortunately, they can’t work around their funding gap, and without $55 billion, the high speed rail project remains a pipe dream.”

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Denham, who faces a tough reelection race in November, said federal approval of the project wasn’t enough to complete it.

His comments came one day after the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) authorized construction of the second leg of the high-speed rail line, which would operate between Fresno, Calif., and Bakersfield, Calif.

The first leg of the project is a $68 billion line connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles. 

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has proposed using cap-and-trade revenue from taxing carbon emissions in the state for funding part of the high-speed rail projects, but this year only $250 million has been allocated.