featured graphic for Michelle Steel, Congresswoman for California’s 48th District, during COVID-19

Rep. Steel questions Secretary Buttigieg on California’s failed high-speed rail project

Rep. Michelle Steel (CA-48) questioned Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg about California’s failed high-speed rail project. Secretary Buttigieg testified in front of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure on the Biden Administration’s priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, and Rep. Steel used her time to ask about the billions in wasted taxpayer money and who will continue to foot the bill for this money pit project.

“After more than a decade of failure, and billions of taxpayer dollars thrown down this high-speed money pit, how would you assure America’s hardworking taxpayers who have been struggling, especially during the pandemic, that continued funding wouldn’t be wasted?,” Rep Steel said.

“We have not had the type of resources or commitment that other countries have,” Secretary Buttigieg answered. The California high-speed rail project started in 2009, with the goal of building a high-speed rail train from Los Angeles to San Francisco that would be fully operable by 2020. After more than a decade, the project’s price tag has ballooned from about $33 billion to more than $100 billion with no segments in operation and no realistic timeline for when the rail line will be completed. Despite these failures and no evidence supporting that completion of this project is attainable, California is pinning their hopes on a bailout from the federal government to secure additional funding for this project.

Earlier this month, Rep. Steel introduced legislation that would prohibit the use of federal assistance for the high-speed rail project in California, which is now expected to cost more than $100 billion.

The project received over $2 billion in funding from the Obama Administration that requires the first segment to be operable by 2022. In 2019, the Trump administration cancelled $929 million in federal funding for the project. The state faces the real threat of having to return the money provided under the Obama administration if they cannot get a usable portion up and running.

Reps. Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), Ken Calvert (CA-42), Doug LaMalfa (CA-01), Devin Nunes (CA-22), Rep. Mike Garcia (CA-25), Darrell Issa (CA-50), Young Kim (CA-39), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Jay Obernolte (CA-08), Kevin Brady (TX-08), Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Scott Perry (PA-10) have signed on as original cosponsors of the bill.

This article was released by the Office of Congresswoman Michelle Steel.


  1. The workplace is changing and you will see a major shift in individuals working from home or on a hybrid schedule in the future. Yes. The Gen Zs do not want cars and they also do not want to commute! They want to work remotely.

    The future ridership numbers do not justify the investment or return. Society is shifting away from the initial need for this project.

  2. If Rep. Steel had travelled to other countries that has high speed rail. She would see that the United States is a third world country when it comes to train travel. I guess she doesn’t travel on the 405 or the I-5. We’re at the point that we can’t build lanes anymore. With High Speed Rail, we will get people out of their cars and cut down the air pollution. And according to surveys, Generation Z doesn’t want cars! They don’t even want drivers licenses!.

    1. Population density and ridership are a material factors for the suitability of HSR.

      What countries are you comparing?

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