Capitol Alert

Jerry Brown responds to Donald Trump’s high-speed rail lament

Using the new president’s preferred mode of communication, California Gov. Jerry Brown delivered a sparing, yet upbeat message Thursday designed to relieve President Donald Trump’s concerns about the lack of fast-moving trains in America.

“@realDonaldTrump,” Brown wrote on Twitter, “California’s ready.” Brown finished the tweet with a hashtag for the California High-Speed Rail system.

Brown’s online missive came shortly after Trump, in a meeting with airlines executives Thursday, bemoaned the relative scarcity of high-speed rail services.

“I don’t want to compete with your business, but we don’t have one fast train,” Trump told the executives, drawing laughter at the listening session. Airlines were among the groups that lobbied against California’s high-speed rail bond legislation more than a decade ago.

Trump has given no indication he’s willing to buck bullet train critics among congressional Republicans, led by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, by channeling federal dollars to California’s high-speed rail project. McCarthy and House Republicans last week urged Trump’s Transportation Department to thwart a $650 million federal grant to electrify a Bay Area train system, a project viewed as beneficial to the Brown-led high-speed rail.

“We think providing additional funding at this time ... would be an irresponsible use of taxpayer dollars,” the GOP lawmakers wrote.

But the president’s supportive remarks about such systems – today, and during the presidential campaign – present a rare opportunity for the Republican administration to work on the same side of an issue with officials in Democrat-dominated California.

Brown, in his State of the State address last month, was similarly optimistic about working with the federal government to build more infrastructure.

“I say ‘Amen to that,’ man!” Brown told the joint session of the Legislature, drawing bipartisan applause. “Amen to that, brother! We’re there with you.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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