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Analyst advises Legislature not to approve bullet train funds

Illustration of a bullet train station.

The nonpartisan research branch of the California Legislature recommended Tuesday that the state not move forward with the bullet-train project this year, despite a request by Gov. Jerry Brown for funding a $6-billion segment of the line.

The Legislative Analyst's Office said that most of the funding for the project “remains highly speculative” and that many details remain unclear.

As a result of funding uncertainties and major last minute changes to the project, the office said, “We recommend that the Legislature not approve the Governor’s various budget proposals to provide additional funding for the high-speed rail project.”

The 10-page report by the office took sharp aim at the project’s plan to tap funding from future auctions of carbon dioxide allowances, also known as cap-and-trade funds. The report notes that the program for auctioning those allowances was based on a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the state to their 2009 levels by 2020.

The initial operation of the bullet train would not even begin until 2022, the report notes. In addition, the construction of the train will increase greenhouse gas emissions for many years in the future. And it notes that many other projects would more effectively reduce greenhouse gases.


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-- Ralph Vartabedian

Photo: Illustration of a bullet train station. Credit: California High-Speed Rail Authority

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