The Latest: California Gov. says he’s committed to rail line

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Latest on California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s State of the State address (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office says he is fully committed to building a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

That’s despite his comments Tuesday that there “isn’t a path” right now for the project.

He said during his State of the State speech that he’s refocusing on finishing a segment of rail in the Central Valley that’s already under construction. Newsom says he’ll complete the environmental reviews for the full line. That’s a stipulation of federal dollars the state has already received.

Newsom said the project would cost too much and take too long. But his spokesman Nathan Click said he’s not walking away from it.

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11:50 a.m.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is creating a new commission on homelessness and housing to address one of California’s most difficult problems.

The Democratic governor said in his first State of the State speech Tuesday that it’s a moral issue that has also become a public health crisis.

He cited mental illness, drug abuse and recent disease outbreaks and has proposed spending $600 million for homelessness care..

Newsom appointed Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg to head his Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing. Steinberg previously was leader of the state Senate.

Newsom’s administration recently sued Huntington Beach for failing to reach housing goals and says he’ll meet with other city leaders next week. He says he won’t preside over “neglect and denial,” and says cities must provide their fair share of affordable housing.

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11:35 a.m.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’ll have a plan within 60 days for dealing with the recent bankruptcy filing by Pacific Gas & Electric after years of devastating wildfires.

Newsom said in his first State of the State address Tuesday that he has convened a team of the nation’s best bankruptcy lawyers and financial experts from the energy sector. They will work with his administration to develop what he called a comprehensive strategy.

He’s promising to ensure that safe, affordable power will continue to flow. He says he’ll seek justice for wildfire victims, fairness for the utility’s employees, and protection for ratepayers.

Newsom says the state won’t waver on its ambitious clean energy goals, but must also address the pressure that climate change is putting on utilities.

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11:20 a.m.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he’s ending the state’s effort to build a high-speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Newsom said Tuesday in his State of the State address it “would cost too much and take too long” to build the line long championed by his predecessor, Jerry Brown. Latest estimates pin the cost at $77 billion and completion in 2033.

Newsom says he wants to continue construction of the high-speed link from Merced to Bakersfield in California’s Central Valley. He says building the line could bring economic transformation to the agricultural region.

And he says abandoning that portion of the project would require the state to return $3.5 billion in federal dollars.

Newsom also is replacing Brown’s head of the board that oversee the project and is pledging to hold the project’s contractors more accountable for cost overruns.

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12:01 a.m.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is preparing to deliver his first State of the State address a day after declaring he wouldn’t participate in the Trump administration’s “political theater” over border security.

The Democratic governor is likely to ratchet up his rhetoric against President Donald Trump in Tuesday’s address, a month into Newsom’s governorship.

He said Monday he’ll withdraw most of California’s 360 National Guard troops on the Mexico border in a rebuke to Trump.

Newsom has also sparred with the president on health care and wildfire preparedness.

The State of the State will also give Newsom a chance to outline his vision for California. He’s already laid out ambitious goals on housing, juvenile justice and the environment.

Associated Press

Associated Press

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