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Meeting With GOP Lawmakers, Brown 'Optimistic' On Rail Funding

Zac Bowling/Flickr

Zac Bowling/Flickr

California Gov. Jerry Brown says he’s looking to make in-roads with Republican lawmakers in Washington, D.C., even as he and state Democratic leaders vocally oppose their health care, immigration and environmental actions.

The governor met Tuesday in Washington with Republican members of Congress and then Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

"I’m not coming here like Martin Luther in 1517, putting my [95] theses on the Wittenberg Church," Brown said afterward. "I’m here to negotiate, to make friends, and to advance the cause of California."

The governor says he wants to find common ground, particularly on transportation and infrastructure projects, where President Trump has called for a trillion dollars in spending.


Brown also says he remains optimistic that federal money will come through for a major rail project in the state.

Republican members of Congress successfully opposed more than a half-billion dollars in funding for the Bay Area’s Caltrain this month, because the state's high-speed rail could eventually share the tracks.

Brown says he thinks they can reach a deal, but he was scant on details about how.

"I don’t know quite how, but somehow, people want to do something different," Brown said. "So maybe a little dance step to the left, a little dance step to the right. Maybe hocus-pocus, it all comes out."

Caltrain and state lawmakers have been working to electrify Caltrain’s tracks for more than a decade.

Transit officials estimate it could nearly double the current 60,000 riders per week.

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