McCarthy wants high-speed rail funding to go to water projects


    HSR train in the Central Valley rendering. (Image from the California High-Speed Rail Authority)

    Congressman Kevin McCarthy introduced legislation on Thursday to repurpose federal funding for the high-speed rail project.

    The Repurposing Assets to Increase Long-term Water Availability and Yield (RAILWAY) Act would take funding from the high-speed rail project and use it for water infrastructure projects in California and the West, according to a news release from McCarthy’s office.

    McCarthy called the High-Speed Rail project a “boondoggle that California and American taxpayers must move on from.”

    Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in his Feb. 12 State of the State address that the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail plan would be abandoned, though he still plans on completing the Bakersfield-to-Merced segment.

    McCarthy released the following statement:

    The RAILWAY Act would end the Federal government’s involvement in this failed endeavor by repurposing up to $3.5 billion in recovered Federal funding for the California High-Speed Speed Rail project to water storage infrastructure projects as outlined in the bipartisan WIIN Act. Under the WIIN Act, five storage projects in California are advancing, and when completed, could provide 5 million acre-feet of additional water storage in our state. This is a far better use of taxpayer money that can address more important needs in our state.
    “California has experienced over five years of drought, and people across the state have felt the consequences with entire communities on the brink of disaster due to lack of water. The RAILWAY Act would address this crisis head-on by providing significant funding for what California really needs – infrastructure projects that help our state capture and store water during wet years for use in dry ones. The RAILWAY Act builds on the success of the WIIN Act by continuing to increase California’s drought resiliency and helping ensure our communities, families, and farmers have access to life-sustaining water.

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority received two grants totaling $3.5 billion from the Federal Railway Administration.

    After Newsom announced his plan to truncate the project, the FRA indicated it is exploring legal options to recover $2.5 billion in federal funding already spent on the project.

    According to the news release, the RAILWAY Act would end the high-speed rail project, increase drought resiliency in California and the West, and help keep federal funds in California.

    McCarthy’s proposed legislation is cosponsored by every Republican member of the California Congressional Delegation.

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