Central Valley Angered by Newsom’s Bullet-Train Plans

High speed rail constructionGov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement in his State of the State speech in February that he didn’t believe California had the resources to complete its $77 billion statewide bullet-train project produced a backlash that Newsom didn’t seem to expect. Within hours after the speech, his aides said the media was inaccurately reporting that Newsom’s only commitment was to build a $12.2 billion, 119-mile high-speed link between Merced and Bakersfield in the Central Valley and nothing more. They said he remained a supporter of the full project.

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But nearly two months later, the initial reaction to Newsom’s speech remains the enduring takeaway for most Capitol watchers: He’s off the bullet train bandwagon. Building unions and green lawmakers who believe in the statewide project’s potential to help in the fight against climate change remain among the most upset.

Yet easily the most intense reaction is in the area where Newsom still wants the project to proceed: the Central Valley.

Coverage from The Bakersfield Californian, the Los Angeles Times and small newspapers in the region reflect anger over how the valley has been treated. Valuable farmland and family homes have been acquired with eminent domain for a project that no longer will link the area with the rest of the state – despite promises from Govs. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown.

‘My mouth was just open with shock’

“I don’t want to talk political because I don’t do it very well,” Fairmead resident Vickie Ortiz told the Times. “But you know, you had a governor that was pushing-pushing-pushing for the high-speed train, and we started getting used to the idea that we can’t stop a train but maybe we can use it to help the community. But then you get another governor and he says: ‘No, I don’t want to do that any more.’ My mouth was just open with shock.”

In the Antelope Valley Press, retiree Bill Deaver, a former official in the Federal Railroad Administration, blasted the “politics and ignorance” of project critics who he blamed for Newsom’s decision.

“Politicians used [high-speed rail] to score political points rather than supporting something that will be able to handle huge increases in traffic projected in coming years. That sort of behavior is one of the biggest barriers to progress.”

Newsom’s decision didn’t surprise some in the Central Valley who never believed a statewide bullet train would get built. “People lost their homes and businesses. And for what?” Visalia farmer Randy Van Eyk told the Times.

Some see commitment to help region

But other remarks the governor made about the Central Valley have resonated more positively – and created an expectation that he will do more than past governors to help the region.

“The people of the Central Valley endure the worst air pollution in America as well as some of the longest commutes. And they have suffered too many years of neglect from policymakers here in Sacramento. They deserve better,” Newsom said in the same speech in which he outlined his views on the bullet-train project’s future.

Bakersfield Californian columnist Robert Price said if Newsom was serious, he should help Kern County diversify its economy away from “two industries under assault in the Central Valley: agriculture and, especially, oil and gas.”

Anna Smith, another columnist for the Californian, also said Newsom should promote economic diversification. But she also called on him to address the Central Valley’s social ills, including “high rates of illiteracy and obesity, lack of access to quality education and health care (especially in rural communities), water contamination and extreme poverty.”

This article was originally published by CalWatchdog.com


  1. The whole thing was a giant waste of time and money. It was never going to have riders it needed to pay for it self. Out of all the countries that have HSR systems there are 2 lines, 1 in france and 1 in Japan that make any money. Every other line in every country in the world loses money. Without the govts of these countries paying money into the system every year the trains would go bankrupt in 6 months.

  2. Damocles says

    This article in it’s entirety makes my stomach turn . To give ANY credence to the ” bullet train to nowhere ” is to insult anyone with an IQ of more than 3.
    If that’s not enough , there is the inference that Government should decide who gets what job , not because of their qualifications but because of their skin color or country of origin . True to Communist form we then see an article demanding more Government control of our daily lives by claiming that they should be able to DICTATE what we eat , what we drink where we can send our children to school , what companies we can buy health insurance from and how they can manipulate the learning
    process so that more people that can’t add 2+2 get high ranking Government jobs while also trying to force private business to do the same through “DIVERSIFICATION ” .
    Just sad to see this level of brainwashing propaganda being spread to the people of California and the US as a whole.

  3. It would appear that the articles in the California Political Review are becoming more and more to the left point of view. Subtle yet obviously favoring the left’s Communistic views . IMHO.

  4. Keep voting Democrat and Rino and it will just keep getting worse.

  5. Robert Wilson says

    If Newsom really gave a damn about the central valley, he would give them their full allocation of water during the year when we have record rainfall so they can recharge their aquifers. The train, is, and always has been, a joke. The central valley is just flyover country for this lawless, scumbag, fraud of a governor!!!

  6. Andrew Kessel says
    • I dont care who benefits from this debacle, the simple fact is it is too darn expensive for the juice extracted! from the maintenance money to maintain, and the money to finish the little part that would possibly run, it is entirely too expensive, and at the cost of our fuel prices and the res of the states maintenance which is suffering greatly! We can no longer afford these ego building excercises from state officials who end up getting huge kickbacks from contracts!

  7. K. Wilson says

    Hello Steve: How come my comment was not posted?

  8. Yep, man-made global warming amidst 100+ cold records being broken during a grand solar minimum. The sun rules the climate, not man.

  9. Sebra Leaves says

    Newsom should do as he suggested. Support new growth in the Valley. Take the jobs to the valley to diversify the economy of the area and bring some relief to the growth fatigued coastal cities. Send tech to the valley. Start with some plastic chemical recycling plants. Build something new using locally produced solar power. Take innovation to the valley where it is needed.

  10. They should biuld it I’m going to be
    Real America ?? transportation
    Suck I mean China ?? Japan
    Are already ahead of the transportation
    If we going to stay on top of the world ?
    We need to build the California
    High ⚡️ speed railway

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