The French national railroad company intended to help California build its high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but ended up leaving the state to pursue projects in war-torn North Africa, which the company said was a less “dysfunctional” place.
The New York Times published a lengthy essay on Sunday about how California’s “bullet train” failed — despite the fervent desire of Gov. Jerry Brown (D) that it be built, and the investments of both the Obama and Biden administration in its supposed construction.
The Times noted:
Now, as the nation embarks on a historic, $1 trillion infrastructure building spree, the tortured effort to build the country’s first high-speed rail system is a case study in how ambitious public works projects can become perilously encumbered by political compromise, unrealistic cost estimates, flawed engineering and a determination to persist on projects that have become, like the crippled financial institutions of 2008, too big to fail.
The state was warned repeatedly that its plans were too complex. SNCF, the French national railroad, was among bullet train operators from Europe and Japan that came to California in the early 2000s with hopes of getting a contract to help develop the system.
“There were so many things that went wrong,” Mr. McNamara said. “SNCF was very angry. They told the state they were leaving for North Africa, which was less politically dysfunctional. They went to Morocco and helped them build a rail system.”
Upon taking office in 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) canceled the high-speed rail project because he said it would “cost too much” and “take too long.” President Donald Trump (R) then tried to have $1 billion that federal taxpayers had already paid into the project returned to the national government. But President Biden and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg restored the funding, hoping to build a high-speed rail link between sparsely-populated rural cities in the Central Valley that are most often traversed by car.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.