Congressman Paul Cook

Representing the 8th District of California
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Rep. Cook Cosponsors Legislation to Redirect High Speed Rail Funds to Critical Water Infrastructure

Mar 8, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON- Rep. Paul Cook (R-Apple Valley) announced today that he has cosponsored the Repurposing Assets to Increase Long-term Water Availability (RAILWAY) Act. The bill would repurpose federal funds from the failed California High-Speed Rail (HSR) Project to water storage infrastructure and to help communities where residential drinking water wells have run dry or have elevated nitrate levels.

The HSR Project has been fraught with mismanagement and high costs. Initially projected to cost $33.6 billion, it has ballooned to more than an estimated $77 billion. In addition, the project has continually failed to meet deadlines and the $10-$12 billion in promised private investment has never materialized. Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom said that the HSR Project would take too long to build and that there “simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego.”

Following his announcement, the U.S. Department of Transportation notified the State of California that it’s rescinding nearly $929 million in unspent federal funds that were previously allocated for the project.

The RAILWAY Act would ensure an end to federal funding for the HSR Project. Moreover, it would redirect funds to critical water infrastructure in California to increase water storage capacity and help protect against droughts by expanding existing reservoirs and building new ones. It would also provide funding through the US Department of Agriculture to award grants to rural communities to help them develop new sources of water and reduce, or eliminate, elevated nitrate levels in drinking water. 

Rep. Cook said, “The last major reservoir in California was built forty years ago. Since then, our population has grown significantly, and we’re ill-prepared to endure droughts. It’s time we take action to increase our water supply and modernize our water infrastructure. This bill makes good use of funds that were already going to be spent in California. I hope that Congress will pass this legislation quickly.”

A member of the House Natural Resources and Armed Services Committees, Cook served as an infantry officer and retired after 26 years as a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in combat, he was awarded the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts.