Last week Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. agreed to debate Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif. next month.
The pair will spar in Georgia for 90 minutes on Nov. 30, and the debate will be moderated by Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has been promoting the event for some time.
Newsom has been sniping at his Florida counterpart for months, claiming California is the true "freedom state," despite the fact that in recent months Florida has enacted a Parents’ Bill of Rights and a school choice program, and has also expanded the Second Amendment rights of Floridians to keep and bear arms.
But if DeSantis wants to demonstrate how the California Dream has become a nightmare, he may want to ask Newsom how his high-speed rail service is coming.
The project is publicly owned by a state agency — the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
Five months into office President Biden restored nearly $1 billion in federal funding for California’s high-speed rail system.
The state had already spent $2.5 billion in federal funds, but that wasn’t enough.
Last week the Biden administration added another nearly $202 million to the rail system, which has been ridiculed as the "Train to Nowhere" and the "Boondoggle that Couldn’t."
In 2008, voters approved the plan for a high speed rail system, which specified a route connecting all the major population centers of the state from San Francisco to Los Angeles, and authorized the issuance of bonds to begin implementation.
U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., observed in a press release two years ago that the project’s cost was initially estimated to be $33 billion. Now three times that amount — $100 billion — is looking closer to be the cost.
Construction began in 2015, which was initially expected to be completes by 2020, given that many rail systems were already in place.
They merely needed upgrading.
That estimate came and went, and two years ago it was moved to 2025, according to McCarthy. The latest estimate is that a 171-mile section in the Central Valley which will connect Merced to Bakersfield is tentatively planned to open in 2030.
But don’t bank on it. Compare that to Florida.
On March 22, 2012, Florida East Coast Industries (later called Brightline) announced their plans to develop a privately-owned and operated high-speed rail system between Miami and Orlando, dubbed All Aboard Florida.
On Jan. 13, 2018, Brightline (formerly FECI) officially began limited service between West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
Last month Brightline became fully operational between Miami and Orlando, with stops in Aventura, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and West Palm Beach.
Cost to federal taxpayers: Zero; cost to Florida state taxpayers: Zero.
On Nov. 30, when the two state governors meet for their 90 minutes on the debate stage, the subject of high-speed rail service may never come up.
But if it does, DeSantis should be ready to give Newsom and viewers a lesson: If you task government with a major project, be prepared to deal with fraud, waste, and abuse.
And you can also expect delays and cost overruns.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to Newsmax. He is also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter. Read Michael Dorstewitz's Reports — More Here.
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