Concerned about possible delays in state funding of high-speed rail, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood told California leaders Thursday that the Legislature needs to send a signal that it is committed to the project by including money for it in the state budget to be approved next month.
LaHood traveled to Sacramento for meetings with Gov. Jerry Brown, legislative leaders and some lawmakers who are questioning whether to continue funding for the $68-billion project, for which the federal government has pledged $3.3 billion in matching funds.
"What I have said to them is, 'We need a strong signal that you are committed to the money for the match, sooner rather than later. We can’t wait until the end of summer,'" LaHood recounted at a news conference following his meeting with state Senate leaders.
LaHood said he was "reassured" by Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) and Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) "that they are committed to high-speed rail and they are committed to making sure that California is able to provide the match that is needed."