Who says Gavin Newsom isn’t frugal? He just cut Californians’ list of big things to complain about by two.
In his state of the state speech, Newsom essentially ended the goal of a high-speed rail system that connects the whole state; he appeared to recast the project as a smaller, regional rail—something like the “Plan B” that’s been discussed in recent years.
He also ended the California Water Fix as we know it, which effectively means the end of 15 years of planning and debate.
Neither project is exactly dead. There will be some kind of rail, and Newsom said there will be some kind of conveyance. But both projects are likely to be smaller and cheaper, and occupy less head space. Effectively, Newsom has jettisoned the only two big projects on Jerry Brown’s limited agenda.
It’s clear why Newsom wanted to clear those decks. He has big projects of his own to propose and tackle—on health and early childhood and maybe even taxation. Taking high-speed rail and the water fix off the agenda should make it easier to focus on his own priorities.