The gigantic transit project that still has not taken place
Hello and welcome to Essential California bulletin. This is June 14. I am Justin Ray.
Last week the Biden administration restored a federal grant of $ 929 million for the high-speed train project in California that had been terminated in May 2019 by President Trump. The restoration was the result of a settlement in a lawsuit brought by California, claiming that the US Department of Transportation had acted inappropriately in withdrawing the money.
In a statement, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the move “further proof that California and the Biden-Harris administration share a common vision – clean, electrified transportation that will serve generations to come.”
As Ralph Vartabedian notes in The Times, however, the nearly $ 1 billion returned to the project doesn’t mean that it now suddenly has a lot more funding; the state rail authority has never taken money out of its budget from planned revenues.
Vartabedian also reports that Newsom is under pressure to allocate a significant amount of unexpected tax revenues to the project as a signal to federal officials that the state is fully engaged. If this happened, it would be the first time that the state has allocated a substantial amount of general fund income to the project. The move could be part of a package with Biden’s proposed infrastructure investments.
In 2008, voters approved a bail measure to help create the system that was to transport commuters between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes. At the time, it was supposed to cost $ 33 billion and be up and running by 2020. Well, it’s 2021, and we still don’t have it.
A revised business plan for the project estimates the total cost of building the entire system connecting the two major California cities could reach $ 100 billion, up from $ 98 billion a year ago. Meanwhile, the rail authority has forecast that it will be completed in the mid-2030s. However, an $ 80 billion funding gap remains.
The ambitious transit project has experienced delays, mismanagement issues and budget problems. Here’s what has happened so far this year:
– In January, one of the state’s leading high-speed train contractors sent a pretty angry letter to those responsible for high-speed trains. “It is incomprehensible that to date, more than two thousand six hundred calendar days after [official approval to start construction] that the authority has not obtained all the right of way.
– In February, a revised business plan was unveiled. The first phase of the high-speed train – a 171-mile link in the Central Valley – will be reduced to single-track, with its estimated cost increasing by $ 2 billion. The Bakersfield-Merced route was previously scheduled to be two.
– Another expensive chapter of the project was revealed in February. In 2014, the contract for a segment south of Fresno was awarded to the lowest bidder, a Spanish company named Dragados. The company pledged $ 300 million in savings by changing the design that the authority had proposed to regulators. Seven years later, those changes were largely scrapped and resulted in cost overruns of over $ 800 million.
– The California High-Speed Rail Authority continued its support with banners proclaiming “5,000 workers counts.” However, an article published in May presents to look closer in that number, revealing how misleading it can be.
– Later in May, the COO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority abruptly quit his job after investigation by the agency and an outside law firm. An anonymous letter that triggered the investigation claimed that Joe Hedges had given large payments to contractors building the project, thereby canceling employees.
– June history hollow in the unions that prompted California to pursue the ailing bullet train. They have had a powerful voice in conversations about resuming construction, despite its constant financing and engineering issues.
To learn more, see more Vartabedian report.
And now, here’s what’s happening in California:
Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.
Exclusive to subscribers: The USC Song Girls program and its longtime trainer are the subject of a Title IX investigation, but this isn’t the first time. The Times learned that five years before the current investigation into discrimination, harassment and retaliation within the program, there was another investigation. Long-time USC Song Girls coach Lori Nelson, who recently resigned, has denied the harassment allegations. Los Angeles Times
It’s getting hot in here. Many in Los Angeles have taken note of the major heat wave in the region. It occurs during a drought which increases the risk of bush fires. If you’re not a fan of the heat, bad news: there’s more to come. Los Angeles Times
Sixteen Hollywood Latinos speak out on the industry’s representation problem. We spoke to actors, screenwriters, directors and executives about the state of Latin portrayal on screen and their hopes for the future. Hear from Eva Longoria, Stephanie Beatriz, Shea Serrano, Steven Canals, and more. Los Angeles Times
LA County Sheriff’s deputy charged with assault, tampering with evidence. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy has been charged with assault and tampering with evidence in an arrest she made in Lancaster two years ago, prosecutors said. Nicole Bell, 27, is accused of removing video footage from a witness’s cell phone in July 2019. The incident marks at least the sixth time that an LA County Sheriff’s Deputy has been charged with a crime since March. Here is an overview: Los Angeles Times
POLICY AND GOVERNMENT
Apple would have transmitted data. Apple last month told former President Trump’s White House lawyer Donald F. McGahn II that the Justice Department subpoenaed the company in February 2018 over an account it owned. , two people told The New York Times. It is not known what the authorities were trying to achieve. During the disclosure to McGahn, the Cupertino company also said the government banned the tech company from telling it at the time. New York Times
CRIME AND COURTS
“I just want everyone to know he was amazing.” A vigil was held in San José for a 7-year-old child who, according to authorities, was killed by his mother. “My heart and my mind are flooded with sorrow and pain, and I live in a nightmare,” Nicholas Husted said of his late son, Liam. “Knowing that he was taken away forever by someone he trusted is utterly unforgivable.” KTVU
Authorities arrested 12-year-old girl on suspicion of starting four fires Friday in the Berkeley Hills. Police said no one was injured in the incidents. “Thanks to swift action and reporting from neighbors, fires were put out and a suspect later apprehended,” police said in a statement. KRON4
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
How does it work inside an emergency room? This doctor and author shares raw, honest stories. Michele Harper is an emergency doctor who is the author of “The Beauty in Breaking”. She discussed her bestselling memoir which details her experience working as a black woman in a predominantly white and male profession. Harper joins the Los Angeles Times Book Club June 29 to discuss the book. Los Angeles Times
A mystery can be solved. An environmental technician says that while testing the equipment that conducts underwater surveys, his team discovered the wreckage that could have been a plane that crashed in 1965. Workers at Seafloor Systems made the discovery at Folsom Lake in California, approximately 40 kilometers northeast of Sacramento. The pilot’s body had already been found, but authorities could not locate the plane or the three passengers who were also on board. CNN
THE CULTURE OF CALIFORNIA
California ranks first in dog bites against postal workers. The US Postal Service has released its list of states where the most dog bites have been reported, and unfortunately California is No. 1. Five California cities were ranked in the top 25 with the most dog bites in the world. United States: Los Angeles (third, with 54 attacks), San Diego (tied for 10th, with 35), Sacramento (tied for 16th, with 22), Long Beach (tied for 18th, with 20) and San Francisco (tied for 24th, with 14). USPS
A Dying Girl, a Fateful Blessing, and Lessons from the Tragic Origin of California Myth. The story of La Cristianita – the little Christian girl – has been repeating itself for ages. It details the baptism in 1769 of a dying little Native American girl by missionaries. It is hailed as a founding moment in California history. But when the story is told, something important is usually left out. Los Angeles Times
Free online games
Get our free daily crossword, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.
ALMANAC OF CALIFORNIA
Los Angeles: Sunny, 88 years old. San Diego: Sunny, 76 years old. San Francisco: Cloudy, 66. San José: Cloudy, 75. Fresno: Sunny, 93 years old. Sacramento: Sunny, 85 years old.
This week, two prominent rappers with the legacy of the West Coast hip-hop scene are celebrating their anniversaries. Tupac was born on June 16, 1971 (he would have been 50 this year). Ice Cube was born on June 15, 1969. He is 52 years old.
If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)
Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send your comments to [email protected]