I have long been a supporter of prudent investments in our local infrastructure. Southern Californians' taxpayer dollars should be put towards worthwhile projects that provide the maximum benefit to our region's economy and quality of living. That's why I've fought for grants to fix some of our most pressing problems, like the 57 60 confluence, which is both a safety hazard and major bottleneck.
It's becoming even clearer to me and many others that spending on the California "bullet train" does not hold the same value.
California received $2.55 billion in funding from the stimulus package and an additional $1 billion in federal dollars to go toward funding a statewide high speed rail system. In 2008, this project was sold to the voters of California as costing $33 billion in order to pass Proposition 1A, a bond measure totaling $10 billion to finance the State funded portion of the project. $33 billion was the cost of building the system from San Diego to Sacramento and the remaining funds would come from the private sector and the federal government in roughly equal amounts.
Since that time the project ballooned to over $100 billion, was scaled back to only include Los Angeles to San Francisco, and ceased to be true high speed rail by “blending” with the existing system.
These billions of dollars could instead be used to repair and improve the freeways that the vast majority of Southern Californians use on a regular basis to get to work, school, and home.
I've asked for an audit of the "bullet train" project and will support efforts to redirect the resources to more practical uses. Rest assured, I'll continue to push for your taxpayer money to be spent in a way that most benefits our community.
News for February 10 - 17, 2017
||Chairman Royce: "No More Free Passes for Iran"
Rep. Royce, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, convened a hearing this week to examine the future of U.S.'s Iran's policy.
“Just last week Iran test-fired another missile. Iran’s illicit weapons program – along with its support for terrorism – are direct threats to our national security and the stability of the Middle East," said Chairman Royce.
Chairman Royce also issued the following statement after the Administration imposed sanctions on 25 Iranian entities in the wake of Iran’s latest ballistic missile launch:
"I’m glad the administration is taking long-overdue steps to hold the regime accountable. I look forward to working with the Administration to build on these designations, push back against Iran’s destructive policies, and promote stability in the Middle East.”
||Rep. Royce Meets w/ Local Law Enforcement and Community Colleges
This week, Rep. Royce met with Tom Dominguez and Roger Hilton of the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS). They discussed issues of importance to our men and women in law enforcement and advances in crime prevention.
Rep. Royce also sat down with Phil Yarbrough from the Rancho Santiago Community College District. They discussed Rep. Royce's support for Pell Grant funding and workforce investment programs that give local community college students the tools they need to excel in the job market.
|Rep. Royce Leads Bipartisan Effort to Keep Russia Sanctions in Place
|The excerpt below is from an ABC News story here.
Democrats and a handful of Republicans are rallying around a bill designed to prevent President Donald Trump from lifting sanctions on Russia without congressional approval.
The measure, introduced by Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, and cosponsored by top Democrats and at least three Republicans, would give Congress 120 days to block lifting any sanctions on Russia imposed in response to actions in Ukraine and Russia's efforts to interference in the 2016 election.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said questions about the Trump campaign’s alleged communications with Russian officials ahead of the election makes the proposed legislation “all the more important.”
“If there were condoned discussions that Flynn had or he was acting as free agent, this president shouldn't have ability to eliminate Russian sanctions,” he said at the Democrats' press conference.
“It's obvious and clear that Putin is testing the new administration,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, D-New York. “The last thing that the U.S. should consider is dialing back sanctions on Russia.”
Late last month, Trump said it was "very early to be talking about" lifting sanctions on Russia, but "if we can have a great relationship with Russia and with China, and with all countries, I'm all for that."
A bipartisan group of senators led by Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, recently introduced an identical bill in the Senate.
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said members hope the bill is a signal to the world that, despite Trump's public statements, Congress remains supportive of sanctions.
"We want to have no doubt about where we stand on these sanctions, our intention is to assure there will be a vigorous response to Russia's criminal behavior," he said.
Top Republicans say they support moving legislation to keep sanctions in place in response to any administration efforts to weaken them.
"Russia should receive no sanctions relief until it abides by the terms of the Ukraine peace process. If sanctions are eased prior to Russia’s full compliance with the Minsk agreements, I will certainly move legislation to keep them in place," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-California, said in a statement.
Read more here.