Gavin Newsom visits Fresno, calls for 'fresh start' on High Speed Rail

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California's next governor visited the Valley to meet with influential leaders and spent Friday in Fresno.

The Governor Elect's visit to Fresno comes as the future of the massive high speed rail project is in doubt. Gavin Newsom told us he wants to see the project completed.

"I've been a long time supporter and I continue to support the Valley to Valley segment but I also think it's time for a fresh start its time to take a more sober, honest assessment of what it is and what it isn't and that's what I intend to do. And frankly I've been critical of some of the financing plans over the past few years but I hope to get it done but with a lot more transparency and a lot more accountability. "

At a round-table meeting with business, political and educational leaders Newsom listened to their concerns. Seated next to him was former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. As head of the Central Valley Community Foundation she believes Fresno needs to be ready to be linked to the rest of the state.

"We know that at some point there's going to be better connectivity between the greater Fresno area and the bay area, that's going to be good for our region, we've got to figure out how to make that happen."

State Senator Anna Caballero says she got a first hand look at the need for high speed rail, because of the weather it took her six hours to drive to Fresno from a meeting in Los Angeles and she wants high speed rail to succeed.

"My position is it provides a really important link to rural California. I am really happy it started here in Fresno and I want to see it continue."

Congressman Jim Costa, a long time high speed rail supporter, applauds Newsom's call for a fresh start and believes congress and the President will get behind an infrastructure spending bill that will provide money for high speed rail projects around the country.

"They've got funding to go for several more years and then the next congress I think one of the things everyone is talking about is the hope for a bipartisan infrastructure bill," he said.

Newsom didn't just talk about high speed rail but heard concerns a wide variety of valley issues, and said he is listening and will be acting on what he's heard.

"I'm going to be rational, balanced and I will always have the interests of the valley at heart."
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