Situational awareness: The national debt has passed a new milestone, topping $22 trillion for the first time. (AP)
1 big thing: $77 billion derailment
The most ambitious infrastructure project in America looks dead, at least for now, after its estimated costs had swelled to $77 billion.
- 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)
Bonus: Relevant chart du jour
Go deeper: High-speed rail and the Green New Deal
Pics du jour
Above: The casket of former Rep. John Dingell rests at the Church of the Divine Child during his funeral today in Dearborn, Michigan.
Below: Rep. Debbie Dingell, his widow, arrives with former Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden.
2. What you missed
- Jurors have convicted Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman in a decision that could send the Mexican drug trafficking kingpin to a high-security prison for the rest of his life. Go deeper.
- President Trump is "not happy" about the deal reached in a bipartisan conference Monday night to keep the government open past Friday. Go deeper.
- The U.S. has released rapper 21 Savage on bond and granted him an "expedited" deportation hearing. Go deeper.
- The National Enquirer is sparking a media crossover, with activists pushing to persuade stores to stop carrying tabloids in light of recent scandals around the publication. Go deeper.
3. 1 film thing
"From 'A Quiet Place' to 'A Star is Born,' studios backed more films with female leads in 2018, according to new research," Variety reports.
- "Out of the top 100-grossing movies, 40 films had women in central roles as either the main character or the co-lead ... an increase of eight films from the previous year and 20 movies from 2007. It is the highest percentage of female-driven films in 12 years."