State Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, speaks to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Editorial Board Tuesday October 11, 2011 in Ontario. (Will Lester/Staff Photographer)

Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Created: 10/11/2011 07:15:44 PM PDT

Senate minority leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga, said he aims to derail the multi-billion high speed rail project that would link Southern California with the Bay Area and Sacramento.

In what would be the single largest public works project in the nation, plans call for high-speed electric trains from Sacramento and San Francisco to San Diego. Trips from Los Angeles to San Francisco would last a little under three hours.

But critics of the plan, like Dutton, say the project would cost far more than originally projected. Dutton said he plans to introduce legislation to use funds intended for the project to instead construct local transportation projects around the state.

“This is gonna be the biggest boondoggle that anybody’s ever seen and we haven’t even scratched the surface with how much this thing’s gonna cost,” said Dutton in a meeting Tuesday of the editorial boards of the Daily Bulletin and The Sun. “This is going to be a big white elephant. It can’t sustain itself.”

Sen. Bob Huff, R-Walnut, said bipartisan skepticism about the project is growing. Huff said legislation is likely to be introduced in January when legislators return to Sacramento.

“Faster speeds from Anaheim to Los Angeles or L.A. to the High Desert would help people commute to work,” Huff said. “That concept makes a lot of sense.”

Rachel Wall, spokeswoman for the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said the project would be a less expensive investment than infrastructure improvements for other modes of transportation – and would have a much better cost benefit than auto or air travel.

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