This was a sad yet unsurprising thing to see come out of this morning’s CEO summit at the Trump White House:
White House NEC director Gary Cohn says @elonmusk thinks we "can tunnel the entire United States" and can "beat high speed rail"
— David Shepardson (@davidshepardson) April 4, 2017
There’s really nothing more fitting than a former Goldman Sachs exec who now has a prominent role in the Trump Administration touting the Hyperloop – which we might now want to call the “Trump Train.”
Infrastructure was a major focus of the meeting, but don’t go getting your hopes up anytime soon that this would mean more money for transportation in California:
Cohn said if cities “sell off” or privatize infrastructure assets, the administration could provide financial support.
“We’re not on the cutting edge of this,” Cohn said. “We’ve got to get a little more comfortable with public-private partnerships.”
This is a recipe for looting on a colossal scale. They’re planning to gut regulations to make this possible, which may signal an assault on the National Environmental Policy Act that some readers here may welcome:
President Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday to cut red tape to speed up approval of infrastructure projects and said his overhaul could top $1 trillion on roads, tunnels and bridges, one of his 2016 election campaign promises….
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said at the forum that the administration plans to release a legislative package in May. Investors have become more skeptical that the plan would win approval this year in Congress, which is controlled by Republicans who are traditionally wary of big spending.
Trump said building a highway can require dozens of approvals and take 10 to 20 years, a process he vowed to speed up. Trump said he would not fund projects that cannot be started within 90 days.
I’m not sure there are a whole lot of projects you can just start within 90 days. Oh wait, I know of one: Caltrain electrification!
More seriously, this is going to be a roads and freeways bonanza, with little money for rail. This administration is committed to going down with the ship that is fossil fuels. It is determined to destroy this country by abandoning all efforts to stop climate change and build a more sustainable transportation system. California is going to have to fund that system itself, because the federal government is lost and not coming back anytime soon.