Calif. Republican cool to more HSR money

March 9, 2011

WASHINGTON — U.S. House of Representatives Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California, the third-ranking House Republican, told McClatchey Newspapers March 8 that California should not be the recipient of additional federal funds for construction of a high-speed rail line.

Other California officials are seeking the $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail funds previously allocated to Florida for a high-speed rail line. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott earlier rejected those funds.

Many California officials are anxious to construct a $40 billion, 220-mph high-speed rail line stretching 800 miles linking San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. California previously received an initial federal grant of $2.3 billion toward its high-speed rail project.

“In today’s world, is that the best place to put the money? The answer is no,” McCarthy told McClatchy Newspapers. “I don’t think it’s a smart investment. Look at where California is [financially]. They don’t have enough money to build it now.”

 The Hill newspaper reports that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has not yet indicated where Florida’s money would be redirected. Officials in other states also are anxious to attract the $2.3 billion rejected by Florida.