California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been unable to escape criticism after announcing he is pulling the plug on the state’s massive high-speed rail project from Los Angeles to San Francisco that was more than a decade behind schedule and billions in the red.
“Let’s be real,” Newsom said in his first State of the State address on Tuesday. “The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.”
The embattled $77-billion bullet train has been an embarrassment for the Golden State and has been plagued by problems almost from the start.
Newsom took his pitch to Twitter following the announcement, saying he is still going to “make high-speed rail a reality” despite the bullet train misfire.
“This is so much more than a train project. It’s a transformation project. Anchored by high-speed rail, we can align our economic, workforce, and transportation strategies to revitalize communities across our state,” he tweeted.
“For those who want to walk away: Abandoning high-speed rail means we will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it. I’m not interested in sending $3.5B in federal funding–exclusively allocated for HSR–back to the White House.”
However, the tweets didn’t go over well with all.
“Didn’t think that seeing your ‘spin’ on the destruction of an important project to CA could make me any more irritated but I was wrong. You can’t slash it and claim to save it,” one person tweeted.
“This decision is the path to the end of your political ambition. Your lack of leadership is truly and deeply disappointing,” another wrote.
One tweet connected Newsom to Simpsons’ character Lyle Lanley, who, in an episode of the iconic TV show, tricked Springfield residents to spend millions building a monorail in the city only to pocket the money himself and flee.
But it wasn’t all bad reviews for Newsom, as others backed his comments.
“We are the only country in the civilized world without high-speed rail. Bravo Governor let’s not stay stucked (sic) in a world of 20-years ago,” one person wrote.
“I agree. The way the country has resisted High-speed rail is mind-boggling. We need to move ahead into the 21st,” another added.