Photo: California High-Speed Rail Authority via Getty Images

The most ambitious infrastructure project in America looks dead, at least for now, after its estimated costs had swelled to $77 billion.

Driving the news: California Gov. Gavin Newsom has called for dramatically dialing back the formidable high-speed rail project. In a speech today, he said "there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.” The project will be confined to California’s Central Valley, running from Merced to Bakersfield, Newsom said.

The big picture: It is incredibly expensive to build infrastructure in the U.S., whether that's rail or highway or anything else.

Why it matters: High-speed rail infrastructure is important to climate change plans like the Green New Deal.

Axios' Ben Geman emails: It’s part of decarbonizing transport along with other mass transit options — such as electric buses, other kinds of trains, better pedestrian options and bikes — and EVs.

  • The Green New Deal resolution, according to the FAQ that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's office released and then retracted, called for building out so much high-speed rail that air travel becomes unnecessary.

Between the lines: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Green New Deal resolution will get a vote (he thinks it will hurt Senate Democrats.)

  • Axios' Amy Harder emails: California just passed an incredibly aggressive clean energy law, so it’s not all bad from climate advocates’ perspective. 

The bottom line: If the richest and most progressive state in the U.S. can't follow through on an ambitious rail plan (similar to how Washington state couldn't pass a carbon tax), it signals nothing but trouble for people concerned about climate change.

P.S. "China plans 6,800 km of new rail track in 2019 amid infrastructure push." (Reuters)

Go deeper

6 mins ago - Axios on HBO

Preview: "Axios on HBO" interviews acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf

On the next episode of "Axios on HBO," acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf tells Axios co-founder Mike Allen why he "would be concerned" about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in office.

Catch the full interview on Monday, August 17 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on all HBO platforms.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 20,755,406 — Total deaths: 752,225— Total recoveries: 12,917,934Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 5,246,760 — Total deaths: 167,052 — Total recoveries: 1,774,648 — Total tests: 64,831,306Map.
  3. Politics: House Democrats to investigate scientist leading "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine projectMcConnell announces Senate will not hold votes until Sept. 8 unless stimulus deal is reached.
  4. 2020: Biden calls for 3-month national mask mandateBiden and Harris to receive coronavirus briefings 4 times a week.
  5. States: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to drop lawsuit over Atlanta's mask mandate.
  6. Business: Why the CARES Act makes 2020 the best year for companies to lose money.
  7. Public health: Fauci's guidance on pre-vaccine coronavirus treatments Cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable.

Trump says he intends to give RNC speech on White House lawn

President Trump speaking to reporters on South Lawn in July. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump told the New York Post on Thursday that he plans to deliver his Republican National Convention speech from the White House lawn, despite bipartisan criticism of the optics and legality of the location.

Why it matters: Previous presidents avoided blurring staged campaign-style events — like party conventions — with official business of governing on the White House premises, per Politico.