SACRAMENTO — Sen. Jeff Stone, R-Riverside County, has introduced Senate Bill 340, which will stop and cease the funding of California’s high-speed rail project.

Stone’s announcement comes on the heels of the Transportation Department declaring it was exploring legal options to get back $2.5 billion in federal funds it had already spent on the state’s high-speed rail network, according to the New York Times.

According to the New York Times, the Trump administration also said it was terminating a $929 million federal grant to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, according to a letter the Transportation Department sent Tuesday.

The $77 billion Los Angeles-to-San Francisco bullet train, which has been a goal of California transportation planners for decades, has long faced opposition from Trump and other Republicans., according to the New York Times. But on Tuesday morning, the president explicitly tied the rail line to efforts to stymie construction of the Mexican border wall.

This all transpired after California filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s emergency declaration on the border.

Stone’s bill will prohibit the state of California from selling any further bonds relating to the purposes of the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century. SB 340 will also provide that the unspent money pay off the debt incurred from the issuance and sale of the outstanding bonds.

Stone Moves to Defund High-Speed Rail

(Photo courtesy of Jeff Stone)

“California’s High-Speed Rail is nothing more than the construction of an unsustainable and unachievable boondoggle dream,” Stone said in a prepared statement. “Voters approved this project with the hope of funding economic transformation. The state has instead mismanaged billions of dollars to deliver what is nothing more than a train track that may sometime connect Merced with Bakersfield.”

Continuing, Stone said, “The Governor has rightfully admitted the promises made to voters in 2008 when they narrowly approved Proposition 1A have been broken, and it seems clear now is the time to cut bait and admit the fantasy has failed. We should stop throwing taxpayer dollars down the drain.”

SB 340 is currently awaiting referral to the proper Senate policy committee for consideration.

Stone represents California’s 28th Senate District. The district, which is entirely in Riverside County, stretches from the vineyards of the Temecula Valley to the Colorado River and includes the cities of Blythe, Canyon Lake, Cathedral City, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs, Indian Wells, Indio, Lake Elsinore, La Quinta, Murrieta, Temecula, Palm Desert, Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Wildomar.


Image Sources

  • Head-photo-of-senator-stone-e1509503081535: Sen. Jeff Stone
  • dawn on the train tracks: Pexels