By Dan Walters
February 9, 2017 – 2:51 PM
Gov. Jerry Brown devoted most of last month’s State of the State address to excoriating Donald Trump, who had been president for just four days.
“We have seen the bald assertion of alternative facts,” Brown complained. “We have heard the blatant attacks on science. Familiar signposts of our democracy – truth, civility, working together – have been obscured or swept aside.”
However, buried in Brown’s anti-Trump screed were two paragraphs of semi-cordiality:
“In his inaugural address, he (Trump) said: ‘We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.’
“And in this, we can all work together – here in Sacramento and in Washington as well. We have roads and tunnels and railroads and even a dam that the president could help us with. And that will create good-paying American jobs.”
Brown’s “tunnels and railroads” obliquely refer to the two immense public works projects he hopes will be a legacy – twin water tunnels under the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a north-south bullet train system.
Both are financially shaky, together lacking the $100 billion or so they would require, and both need federal money and/or permits to proceed.
The Obama administration gave California a few billion dollars to partially finance an initial bullet train segment in the San Joaquin Valley – money the state was supposed to match, but hasn’t yet, thanks to a waiver.
Brown has pitched for more, hoping that Trump’s fondness for “fast trains” would overcome his dislike of California, which he describes as “out of control.”
Trump could demand the matching money or cut off a $650 million grant for electrifying Caltrain commuter service on the San Francisco Peninsula, a vital part of the “blended” bullet train system. California’s Republican congressional members have urged Trump to hold up the grant.
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