Governor Jerry Brown’s bullet train to nowhere has earned him ridicule from opponents and frustration from voters. Now he’s catching heat from fellow high-ranking Democrats. Lieutenant Governor and former San Francisco Mayor, and Democratic macher Gavin Newsom thinks the unicorn train should be put out to pasture. The San Jose Mercury News reports:
“I would take the dollars and redirect it to other, more pressing infrastructure needs, and I am not the only Democrat that feels this way. And I’ve got to tell you, I am one of the few that just said it publicly,” Newsom said, according to a recording of the program provided by the station, KTTH in Seattle. “Most are now saying it privately.”Newsom’s comments make him the most prominent Democrat in California to publicly split with Gov. Jerry Brown on the project, which is one of the governor’s top priorities.
It’s possible that Newsom has his own political fortunes in mind. He was a big-name proponent of the project and its financing plan when voters were too, so he might just be riding the tide of public disaffection with the train. As he put it himself, “I think I’m where the public was and is.”If, as he claims, Newsom is giving voice to the frustrations of many state Democrats, Governor Brown could be in for a rude awakening. Making the case that $68 billion might be better spent on more pressing public needs has always been logically and morally sound. If state Democrats find that it’s politically useful too, the governor could face a most unwelcome blue mutiny.Blue revolt against the train would do the Golden State some good. California needs to save cash to guard against future financial turbulence due to pensions that, despite Governor Brown’s reforms, still look underfunded, and, among other things, it desperately needs new infrastructure and it could use some spending and tax cuts. So here’s to hoping the Democrats who want to put the train out of its misery aren’t just hoping to spend the money on their own pet boondoggles.