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California rail project’s future in question

Governor Scott Walker
 

The high-speed rail in California is a disastrous project that, once again, made headlines. The Los Angeles Times broke the story that top California Democratic legislators agreed to divert billions in remaining bullet-train funds to the Los Angeles region and the San Francisco Bay Area rail systems.

“The move is a response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan earlier this year to direct all of the remaining bullet train funds into the San Joaquin Valley and build a partial high-speed system from Bakersfield to Merced at a cost of $20.5 billion,” the article read.

This project began over a decade ago and has yet to make substantial progress, all while wasting taxpayer money. Not to mention, the high-speed rail project has turned into a political fight that needs closure by putting an end to the high-speed rail train once and for all.

We did just that back in 2010. Prior to that, the federal government dangled $800 million worth of cash in front of hungry politicians with the promise that it was “free.” The “stimulus” project was a high-speed rail line between Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin.

It was a boondoggle that would ultimately be a financial albatross around the necks of taxpayers. We stopped it right after my election as governor nine years ago. Looking at the billion-dollar overruns in California, we are glad that we took action.

Not surprisingly, there is another project in our nation’s largest state that needs to end. It’s Section 2 of the LA Metro Purple Line extension. From the start, this project has been yet another boondoggle that has wasted taxpayer money and put residents in harm’s way.

It’s projected that the Purple Line extension is already (at least) $400 million dollars over budget. This exorbitant cost, which may still continue to increase if the project continues, will ultimately hit the taxpayer’s pocketbook. Residents in California are tired of watching these wasteful projects fail to come to fruition, all while still footing the bill for larger and larger costs.

If the waste of taxpayer money isn’t enough to concern California’s lawmakers, the dangerous hazards stemming from the construction should be.

The original plan presented to the public was a farce. Construction of the Purple Line extension is now under way (800 feet away from the public right of way), directly on the fence line of Beverly Hills High School. Students are heading back to school this August and the noise pollution from the construction site is a serious concern that may hinder students’ ability to focus on their academics.

But more importantly, the real concern is that since the Purple Line moved location sites, the tunneling will occur through unmapped oil fields that may contain harmful methane gas, below the high school. This is a very serious problem for the safety, health and well-being of students, parents, teachers, and even nearby residents.

One resident, California conservative Lisa Korbatov has been a vocal opponent of the Purple Line Extension through the “Stop the Purple Threat” campaign. She is a conservative leader who served as the president of the Beverly Hills School Board and lent her voice to protect her fellow Los Angeles County residents and Beverly Hills High School students from the Purple Line hazards. However, opposition to the project has also garnered bipartisan support.

The Purple Line’s Section 2 extension and the high-speed bullet train are boondoggles that continually fail to benefit California residents. But how do we remedy this situation? President Donald Trump and his Transportation Secretary, Elaine Chao, have the authority to pull funding from the Purple Line.

Over the past two and a half years, the president has helped grow the economy by cutting red tape and stopping wasteful projects.  Pulling funding from the Purple Line is the next logical step for President Trump and his team.

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