About $3 billion and 119 miles’ worth of track construction is underway or under contract on California’s planned high-speed route that, ultimately, would stretch between Sacramento and San Diego. At the same time, however, the Federal Transit Administration’s deferral of a $647-million grant for electrification of a Bay Area commuter rail line—considered a vital part of the $64-billion high-speed-rail system—indicates potential, possibly partisan-based new opposition.
In February, a group of Republicans wrote a letter to new U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urging her to defer the grant, citing opposition to the high-speed-rail project, and she agreed. As a result, the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board reached an agreement with its major contractors to delay construction starts, originally slated for March, to June.