Kevin McCarthy blasts bullet train funding in California budget deal

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Defeated In Primary By Tea Party Challenger

Rep. Kevin McCarthy is trailed by reporters while walking in the U.S. Capitol building Wednesday. McCarthy, the leading contender for House majority leader, opposes California’s bullet train project.

(Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the leading contender to be the next House majority leader, slammed Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers Friday for striking a budget deal that includes hundreds of millions of dollars for the controversial high-speed rail project.

McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, said the budget accord, which was announced Friday afternoon, “shows just how unserious the Democrats are in controlling spending and improving our state’s business climate.”

He aimed most of his ire at the bullet train project, which would receive $250 million in the next fiscal year and in subsequent years. The funds are 25% of revenues from the state’s cap-and-trade program, which collects fees on polluters.

“Time and again, the high-speed rail boondoggle has proven to be an unfeasible project that will put undue and damaging pressure on our state budget, ultimately hurting taxpayers,” McCarthy said in a statement.


“Governor Brown’s persistence shows he is more interested in protecting his legacy than communities that will be uprooted by its intrusion,” he added. “As long as I am in Congress, I will do whatever I can to ensure that not one dollar of federal funds is directed to this project.” 

McCarthy’s avowed opposition to the project carries more heft after this week’s seismic political upheaval in Capitol Hill, following the surprise primary defeat of current Majority Leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia), by a largely unknown challenger, college professor David Brat.

As the No. 3 GOP leader in the House, McCarthy is in prime position to lay claim to the majority leader post. House Republicans will vote on the position next week.

Follow @melmason for more on California government and politics.