Trump Admin to Cancel $929M for Calif. High-Speed Rail Boondoggle

Trump administration to cancel $929 million in California high-speed rail funding

The Trump administration vows to cancel $929 million in California high-speed rail funding

California Governor Gavin Newsom blasted the Trump administration Tuesday for misusing "taxpayer dollars" in bypassing Congress for border wall funding; conveniently forgetting he now owes USA taxpayers $3.5 billion for his failed high-speed rail project.

In a statement Tuesday, Newsom said, "It's no coincidence that the administration's threat comes 24 hours after California led 16 states in challenging the president's farcical 'national emergency.' The president even tied the two issues together in a tweet this morning".

"This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won't sit idly by", Newsom stated.

In 2012, a consortium of California newspapers researched the high-speed rail system in Spain, the one cited by President Barack Obama and others as a model for the USA, and found it was a money loser.

In 2008, voters approved $10 billion in initial bonds for planning and construction of high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

In addition, the U.S. Transportation Department said that it was exploring legal options to recoup $2.5 billion in federal funds already granted to the project.

Originally planned as a 850-km rail system linking San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco, California's bullet train is years behind schedule and, according to the state audit report, 600 million US dollars over-budget.

He said that while 50 years ago, many fiscal conservatives were concerned about BART's cost, today, it is "essential to the Bay Area".

A coalition of 16 USA states sued Trump and top members of his administration on Monday, saying the emergency declaration would cause them to lose millions of dollars in federal funding for national guard units dealing with counter-drug activities and that the redirection of funds from authorised military construction projects would damage their economies.

Newsom says that he's not giving the money back, but the California high speed rail board told The New York Times that they see the government's decision as an open offer to negotiate.

Newsom's new plan would only consist of 110 miles of track in the Central Valley, from Bakersfield to Merced.

Turning to Twitter, Trump urged California on February 20 to return the money and lambasted recent reports that said the state was planning to reduce the scope of their railway project, which has been under construction for years.

Neither Mr. Lipari nor a spokeswoman with the high-speed rail's Fresno office would offer any estimate on a ticket price.

President Trump seized on the governor's statement in a tweet, calling California's rail plan a "disaster" and saying he wanted the state to return federal money that has been invested in the project.

There are several scenarios in which the federal government can take money back from California, as outlined in the grant agreement signed in 2010.

FRA Administrator Ronald Batory said the state authority responsible for the rail project failed to comply with the terms of the funding. We want that money back now.

The project, which was supported by Newsom's predecessor Gov.

"Right now there simply isn't a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A.", he said.

The Trump administration action is likely to add further fuel to critics, including those in California, who want the project stopped. But it also warns that the FRA may terminate the cooperation agreement entirely and attempt to claw back the money it has already sent.

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