Dan Walters

By Dan Walters
Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

California’s highly controversial bullet train project is headed for some kind of political collision.

While the California High-Speed Rail Authority is trying to quickly spend billions of state and federal dollars on a starter line in the San Joaquin Valley, the tens of billions in federal funds needed to expand the project appear to be entangled in frantic federal budget negotiations.

Republicans retained control of the House in last month’s elections, and the No. 3 figure in the GOP hierarchy – Bakersfield Rep. Kevin McCarthy – last week reiterated a House resolution declaring that no more federal money be allocated for the bullet train.

“The current plan to be finished – at the smallest level – asks for another $38 billion from the federal government,” McCarthy told a hearing. “Please put that in perspective. The debate we’re wrestling over for the rest of the month, on our fiscal cliff, if you raised all the dollars and raised all the taxes that is proposed, you only get $31 billion in a year. And they’re requesting more than what we would even get from that.”

The Obama administration, however, renewed its pledge to appropriate more federal money for the project, and backing for more appears to be strong in the Senate.

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