A report by the California legislative analyst’s office notes that while the state’s legislature could decide to extend funding for the project — including a portion of cap-and-trade revenues through 2030 — it’s unclear where the money will come from to build beyond the Central Valley segment.

Experts say that the fragmented nature of transportation planning in the country has made the federal government hesitant to bet big on new projects rather than on fixing existing systems. That’s layered over a national political environment in which the appearance of California boosterism can be a liability, even for Democrats like the president.

more than 20,000 miles of high-speed rail in about two decades.

For Brian P. Kelly, who took over as chief executive of the rail authority in early 2018, the only way to get the project done is to trudge forward, whatever the political weather.

as “a train to nowhere” — is changing rapidly. The region’s major industries, like farming, are facing generational shifts. And families priced out of coastal cities are arriving in pursuit of relatively affordable housing, driving up costs and pushing out poorer residents as part of an increasingly familiar cycle.

The train was always going to have to pass through the Central Valley. So while some local leaders have over the years vocally opposed the project, many believe the region should grab the opportunities the train could bring.

“We’re teetering on the edge,” said Ashley Swearengin, a former mayor of Fresno who now leads the Central Valley Community Foundation. “We could get it right.”

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