Denham calls high-speed rail 'bait-and-switch'

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Jeff Denham guest hosted for Ray Appleton on KMJ on Monday. Listen to the full hour on California’s High-Speed Rail Project below. Denham had Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association on as a guest and answered questions from callers throughout the hour, according to a news release from Denham's office.

KMJ 580: Denham Hosts Ray Appleton on KMJ – 12/12/11

Denham Hosts Ray Appleton on KMJ - Discusses CA HSR Part 1 of 4

Denham Hosts Ray Appleton on KMJ - Discusses CA HSR Part 2 of 4

Denham Hosts Ray Appleton on KMJ - Discusses CA HSR Part 3 of 4

Denham Hosts Ray Appleton on KMJ - Discusses CA HSR Part 4 of 4

Denham, member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, voiced his growing concerns and frustrations with the proposed California project in the Administration’s high-speed rail program during a House Committee hearing on Thursday. The project has recently seen its cost and construction time projections increase dramatically compared the proposal California voters originally approved.

“The California High-Speed Rail project has spun so drastically out of control even California voters are questioning its viability,” said Denham. “The project is so far from the original proposal that according to a report from the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the business plan does not even meet important requirements of the ballot initiative approved by California voters. I want to create jobs and expand upon our transportation portfolio, but we must be responsible for how we are spending taxpayer dollars. As we learned in today’s hearing, the Rail Authority can no longer ignore the facts that the project is lacking oversight and a disciplined plan to attract the private sector investment it needs.”

Thursday’s hearing was the second in a series over the past two weeks focusing on missteps in the Obama Administration’s rail program initially funded by the Stimulus. With other large proposed projects under the program having been rejected by their state’s governors, the California project remains one of the most high profile in the program that is funding no other projects with any real high-speed potential. Congressman Denham questioned Sec. La Hood at a hearing last week and was not able to get a concrete answer as to whether or not this was going to be the final cost figureSec. LaHood said that the cost could be different tomorrow.

Denham: “But you do agree with the $98.5 billion dollar number. That means - that we’re starting with a factual baseline that that’s going to be the true cost.”LaHood: “It’s going to be expensive to build the high speed rail. If that’s the figure today, that’s the figure today. It’ll be different tomorrow.”