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Hahn: High-Speed Rail Project ‘Critical’ To Calif., U.S. Economy

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TORRANCE (CBSLA.com) — A Southern California Congresswoman Thursday defended plans for a high-speed rail project despite spiraling costs and concerns about its long-term viability.

KNX 1070’s Jan Stevens reports Rep. Janice Hahn (D-Torrance) clashed with a Bakersfield lawmaker during a Transportation Committee hearing in Washington.

State legislators in July approved nearly $8 billion in spending on the first phase of the rail project that will ultimately connect the Southland to San Francisco.

Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) appealed to the Committee to review the business plan and to assess the viability of investing more funds into the project.

“There are concerns about the business plan itself, and equally concerning to me, just because we’ve invested money, does it mean we have to invest more?” McCarthy said. “Maybe we say, ‘No, we’re not gonna fund any more,’ and the savings should go to pay down our deficit.”

He warned the current plan would require borrowing a minimum of another $38 billion in federal funding to finish the project on time.

However, Hahn said the project will not only provide much-needed transportation alternatives, but will also bring jobs to thousands of Californians.

“Transportation congestion is strangling the business potential of our state and weighing down the economic activity that isn’t just critical to the success of California, but to the nation as a whole,” Hahn said.

Construction on the project is expected to begin next spring.

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