California Dolphin: statewide California news

‘Bridges, not walls:’ Brown invites Trump to visit high-speed rail construction

SACRAMENTO — In a continuation of the back-and-forth between White House Republicans and California policy makers, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday formally invited the president to visit high speed rail construction in the Central Valley, saying the state is more interested in building “bridges, not walls.”
The invitation comes as President Trump prepares to make his first visit to California on Tuesday, when he is expected to view prototypes of the proposed border wall in San Diego. And, it comes amid escalating vitriol aimed at California from Trump Administration, which last week filed a lawsuit in federal district court claiming the state’s sanctuary protections preempted federal immigration law.
“After you’ve examined your wall prototypes on the border, I invite you to head north to the Central Valley – the heart of California,” Brown said in the letter. “You see, in California we are focusing on bridges, not walls. And that’s more than just a figure of speech.”
Citing several past Republican presidents who lauded California’s economic strength, Brown used Trump’s own words to tout the state’s strong post-Recession job growth and not-so-subtly dig into Trump’s anti-immigration policies. California’s prosperity was not built in isolation, he said.
“Quite the opposite,” he wrote. “California thrives because we welcome immigrants and innovators from across the globe.”
It’s just another example of the “pissing match” between the state’s Democrats and Republicans, both in the White House and in Congress, who have singled out California as a political pinata, said Jack Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College. And, it’s a competition that isn’t likely to end soon, he said.
“For California, Donald Trump is a bottomless cup of vile,” Pitney said. “And as long as Trump is president, he’s going to be going after California.”
That could have disastrous consequences for California’s high-speed rail project, which is already four years behind schedule as costs for the massive infrastructure project continue to balloon . On Friday, California High Speed Rail CEO Brian Kelly told reporters the project needs federal funding to make it down to Southern California, as promised to voters in 2008.
Golden State residents might as well wait for a Democratic president to take office, Pitney said, adding, “High speed rail is does not have a rosy future from the Trump Administration.”
But, there are also consequences for Republicans, Pitney said. With Democrats rallying to fight back against what they see as a rollback of progressive policies, re-energizing their base will undoubtedly hurt Republicans in the mid-term elections in November, he said.
Meanwhile, Brown continued to rub California successes in Trump’s nose, highlighting the 1,700 workers employed in construction of the nation’s only high speed railroad and the 3 million jobs the state added since the end of the Great Recession.
“You have lamented that ‘we don’t have one fast train’ in our country. Well, Mr. President, in California we are trying to fix that,” Brown wrote. “We have a world-class train system under construction. We invite you to come aboard and truly ‘Make America Great Again.'”

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