Et Tu, Newsom? Is Anybody Left to Support Gov. Moonbeam's Bullet Train?

California's lieutenant governor no longer wishes to ride the rails


"My vision for the future of California includes me having a job."
Credit: jdlasica / Foter / CC BY-NC

There have been a lot of technical, financial and legal hitches that could have and should have already killed Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed high-speed rail, but we all know hard it is to kill a darling government project no matter how bad it is.

When the project becomes so bad, though, that politicians start seeing it less and less of a darling, that's when it's time to start looking for the man in the executioner's hood. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, has pulled his support for the state's high-speed rail project. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Newsom has a knack for getting out in front on issues—most famously in his 2004 backing of same-sex marriage, and more recently in endorsing legalized marijuana. Although he was an early and ardent supporter of the bullet train, Newsom said in a phone interview Tuesday that "it's not the same system that was being promoted" when it first came before voters in 2008.

"We were selling a $32 billion project then, and we were going to get roughly one-third from the federal government and the private sector," he said. "We're not even close to the timeline (for the project), we're not close to the total cost estimates, and the private sector money and the federal dollars are questionable."

Newsom would prefer state leadership to focus more on California's drought and the state's perpetual water issues as a smarter investment of public funds.

Is Newsom a harbinger of more Democrats jumping off this mess of a project? Is it possible that politics could actually kill what common sense could not? We'll just have to see.

(Hat tip to Sevo.)