California's proposed bullet train, the nation's largest public infrastructure project, has become the focus of an intense federal funding battle that could undermine its survival, as Republican leaders in Congress attempt to claw back as much as $3.3 billion in federal grants already approved for the start of construction next year.
The case against the bullet train is being led by a group of California Republicans, including Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Atwater) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), the House majority whip, who have argued the project is deeply flawed and has become unaffordable as the cost has spiraled to $98.5 billion.
Denham, a subcommittee chairman on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he believes all of the project's grants can be rescinded by Congress and should be reallocated to highway construction in the Central Valley. Republican staffers are formulating plans to grab the bullet train money, which they said has not been spent or put under contract.
-- Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
Photo: Metrolink passengers get off at the Burbank station on Tuesday, September 27, 2011. Credit: Times Community News