Unfortunately for Brown, however, California's powerful environmental lobby was none too happy with the proposed exemption for high-speed rail, leading the governor to knuckle under earlier this week. As Conn Carroll notes in the Washington Examiner, this could be the beginning of the end:
The Los Angeles Times does not fully report this out, but Brown's decision not to bypass CEQA essentially kills California's high speed rail project.
President Obama's stimulus allocated $8 billion for high-speed rail projects, including, eventually, up to $3.5 billion for California's project. However, according to the stimulus law, California must begin construction on the project before December 31, 2012 or they will not be eligible for any more high speed rail stimulus dollars. Obama's Transportation Department reaffirmed this time limit last year when they admitted they had "no administrative authority to change this deadline."
... there is simply no way California will be able to break ground on the project before the federal deadline.
California, already cash-strapped, simply does not have the money to make up for the absence of federal funds. And with the huge turn in public opinion against the project, voters won't indulge any fishing for new revenues. Based on the current trajectory, it looks like the train to nowhere will never get to leave the station. That's some rare good news for Golden State taxpayers.