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Gavin Newsom calls SF-to-LA high-speed rail unrealistic, pushes for route from Bakersfield to Merced

During Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first State of the State speech Tuesday, he surprised listeners by announcing he would put the quest for high-speed rail connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles championed by his predecessor far on the back burner.

Instead, Newsom offered a consolation prize: high-speed rail between Bakersfield and Merced.

“Let’s level about the high-speed rail,” Newsom said. “Let’s be real, the current project as planned would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.”

Recent estimates assessed former Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan would be cost about $77 billion and be completed in 2033. Newsom then pivoted to his alternate proposal, to instead connect the two Central Valley cities, 160 miles apart.

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