Trump Administration Just Killed California’s High Speed Rail Project, But Why?


President Donald Trump has promised on a number of occasions to work to build up America’s infrastructure.

The topic even earned a mention in Trump’s inaugural address, when he said of the issue:

‘For many decades, we’ve… spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay… We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon… But that is the past… From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land… From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.’

By all appearances, however, Trump’s promise to build up America’s infrastructure only extends as far as it furthers his agenda.

For example, in his quest to build up businesses that he himself has a stake in, shortly after taking office, Trump signed an executive order directing the previously halted Dakota Access Pipeline to be completed.

This oil pipeline, stretching across the Midwest, ran into controversy when its construction reached dangerously close proximity to the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux of North Dakota. However, the many months of passionate protest against the pipeline were made all but impotent with the stroke of ‘President’ Donald Trump’s irreverent pen.

The state of California is the latest entity to fall victim to the Trump administration’s picking and choosing when it comes to issues of building up America’s infrastructure. Trump’s Secretary of Transportation, Elaine Chao, who is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s wife, has now caved under pressure from California Republicans and effectively killed a California project to electrify the San Francisco Bay Area’s commuter rail system.

Presently the trains run on diesel, which according to local officials, seriously undercut’s the system’s potential because of lagging speed and performance.

The proposed electrification of the Bay Area rail system, which would be a major step towards completing California Governor Jerry Brown’s vision of a high speed railway that stretches across most of his state, needs a 647 million dollar federal grant to be in place by March 1 to proceed. However, the Federal Transit Administration announced last Friday that decision on whether or not to disburse the needed funds to California would be delayed and coupled with the upcoming deliberations on President Donald Trump’s 2017-2018 budget.

Local officials expressed grim dismay at the federal government’s move.

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, commented:

‘I never imagined that the electrification of a train would be subjected to such brutal, partisan politics. This is not a Democratic project nor is it a Republican project. It is about the modernization of an outdated commuter system that is the spine of the transportation system of the Peninsula and the Silicon Valley region.’

Eshoo added, according to the San Francisco Gate, that the push to electrify the Bay Area’s commuter rail system “is a shovel-ready project which would create thousands of jobs in the Bay Area and employ thousands in other states. It would be built by American workers and built with American products.”

And yet, it has been temporarily struck down by the Trump administration.

Featured Image via Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images.