High Speed Rail Federal Funding Has Disappeared, Now What?

The California high speed rail project has suffered another setback this week as President Barack Obama and other federal officials slashed this year’s high speed rail budget in an effort to avoid a government blackout. Last Friday, in a second effort to avoid a shutdown, the high speed rail budget was cut from the $2.5 billion annual allocation to $1 billion; it was on Tuesday however that the final $1 billion was taken off the table all but terminating any local high speed rail projects here in California for the year. The future of the proposed 520 mile route from San Francisco to Los Angeles is now up in the air as many members of the GOP have taken aim at high-speed rail as an obvious area to cut spending during the most recent budget crisis.

While California still requires about $14 billion more from the federal government to carry out only a portion high speed rail project, the only funding up for grabs now is that from Florida, whose Governor rebuffed the offer of any federal money to create a high speed rail line for his state. Although while the High Speed Rail Authority announced that they expect to receive enough money from Florida to sustain for the remainder of this year, there was no exchange regarding plans should the federal funding be withheld for an extended period of time. For now, it seems the project in California will continue move ahead, regardless of funding assurance, as officials are expected to break ground in the Central Valley in 2012 in an effort to take advantage of previous federal funding that will disappear if not used by fall of next year.