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GOP leader suggests pulling the plug on California's high-speed rail

December 6, 2012 |  4:06 pm

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), the third-highest-ranking Republican in Congress, suggested on Thursday that the federal government should “cut its losses” and not provide any more money for the state’s high-speed rail program.

McCarthy made his comments before a congressional committee looking at infrastructure and high-speed rail issues.

“Just because we’ve invested money doesn’t mean we have to invest more,” McCarthy told the committee. “I have real doubt of the viability, the costs and if and when this will ever be built.”

McCarthy said the revised high-speed rail plan calls for $38 billion more in federal funding. But he said that estimates of the train’s ridership were overblown and that Congress may have to subsidize the operation of the train if and when it is ever built.

“Look, I know Hollywood happens to be in California, but this is not a Kevin Costner movie,” he said. “If we built it, I don’t know if they will come.”

Last year, McCarthy called on the General Accounting Office to conduct an audit of the revised rail plan, which has been overhauled and pared back since Gov. Jerry Brown took office last year.

The governor has been a staunch defender of the train, calling its opponents "declinists" who lack long-term vision for the state.


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--Anthony York in Sacramento