Cap-and-trade share not close to $ bullet train needs

Cap-and-trade share not close to $ bullet train needs

highspeedrail-300x169Gov. Jerry Brown has managed to secure a steady source of funding — cap-and-trade fees related to AB 32 — for his $68 billion bullet-train project. It appears that he did so by winning teacher unions’ support with a simply bizarre budget provision forcing school districts to spend down their reserves, which inevitably means more money for teachers.

But as a very useful article in the Sacramento Business Journal points out, this isn’t nearly the good news that Dan Richard and other bullet-train boondoggle bandwagoners will pretend:

“Lawmakers have reached a deal on funding the California High-Speed Rail Authority up to a projected $250 million beginning in fiscal 2015, far less than the agency expects it will need to cover construction costs at that time, which is roughly $4 billion a year.

“While the financing deal is not final, the plan to fund high-speed rail through 25 percent of future cap-and-trade proceeds was approved by a state budget panel Thursday in advance of a budget floor vote expected by Sunday night.”

Bad news for bullet train in Cantor wake

kevin-mccarthyThere’s also another development that bodes ill for the bullet train: the single biggest congressional critic of the project is Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield.

He’s going to be the new House majority leader soon as a result of the Eric Cantor defenestration. And he’s likely to be House speaker in a couple of years. John Boehner was the subject of retirement rumors even before his No. 2 was ousted in a Virginia primary, which is an implied rejection of Boehner as well.

If the dominoes keep falling and McCarthy becomes speaker, nothing would make him look weaker than Congress renewing federal funding for the fiasco that threatens to tear up his district.

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