Gov. Gavin Newsom curtails plan for High-Speed Rail, plans to only build between Merced and Bakersfield

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KFSN) -- With a roar of applause, Governor Gavin Newsom walked into the Assembly Chambers for his first state of the state address.

His speech immediately drew a sharp line between his vision for the state and President Donald Trump's agenda.

"The border 'emergency' is a manufactured crisis and California will not be part of this political theater," said Gov. Newsom.

The Governor recently pulled National Guard troops from the border and announced they would be redirected to go after illegal drug farms while preparing for the fire season.

However, Newsom's most significant announcement was scaling back in the controversial High-Speed Rail project.

"Let's be real. The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long. There's been too little oversight and not enough transparency. 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. However, we do have the capacity to complete a high-speed rail link between Merced and Bakersfield."

Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) says that's what they've been warning voters about for years.

"It is self-evident, there's no money, and he's finally admitting it," said Patterson. "Now we have to make sure Central California gets connected with something that matters."

RELATED: Supporters and critics of High-Speed Rail react to governor's plan for continued construction in Valley

Throughout his speech, Newsom made mention of several Central Valley cities like Merced and Fresno, even mentioning Clovis for the work the city is doing on with housing.
"It is refreshing to have a governor who apparently has a map that includes the Central Valley," said Patterson.

Newsom announced plans to direct half a billion dollars to navigation centers in hopes of tackling the homeless issue while directing another 750 million to improve housing.

Lawmakers say while they like the plans, they worry about the cost.

"Those new challenges and expenditures, but also holding to government accountable and making sure we're saving money," said Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced). "Those areas are going to be tough, but we can work together. "

Newsom also announced a new state water board director and plans to create a task force aimed at coming up with ideas to expand worker opportunities.

The governor, ended his speech saying the state also needs to focus on issues like DMV modernization and criminal justice reforms, concerns he plans to address in the future.
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