Jerry Brown: S.F.-L.A. High-Speed Rail Line Requiring $55.2B in Tax Dollars Is ‘Little Engine That Could’

By Patrick Burke | January 24, 2013 | 3:37 PM EST

Jerry Brown, Democrat governor of California. (AP)

( – Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown of California likened a $68.5-billion high-speed rail project that will cost state and federal taxpayers $55.2 billion to “The Little Engine That Could.”

He said construction of the railroad, which ultimately will run from San Francisco to Los Angeles, will begin this year.

“We all know the story of ‘The Little Engine That Could,’” Brown said in his state of the state address on Thursday.  “The big engines were asked to haul the freight train over the mountain. They said, ‘can’t do it.’ They asked another, ‘can’t do it.’”

He continued, “The little train said, ‘I think I can.’ And so the engine pulled the long line of freight cars and started puffing away, ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can. And over the mountain, the little engine went. We’re going to get over that mountain. I have no doubt about it.”

Earlier in his remarks, Brown cited high-speed rail projects in countries such as China, Spain, and Morocco as part of the justification for the project in California.

High-speed train in Communist China. (AP)

“Electrified trains are part of the future. China already has 5,000 miles of high-speed rail, and they intend to double that,” Brown said. “Spain has 1,600 miles and is building more. More than a dozen other countries have their own successful high-speed rail systems. Even Morocco is building one.”

The California project plans to run a high-speed rail system from San Francisco to downtown Los Angeles by 2028.

The GAO reported last month that the entire project is expected to cost $68.5 billion of which $55.2 billion will come from taxpayers. Of that $55.2 billion in taxpayer money, $13.2 billion will come from California taxpayers and $42 billion will come from federal taxpayers.