Trump Threatens To Cancel California's $929 Million High Speed Rail Grant

Feb 21, 2019, 00:56
Trump Threatens To Cancel California's $929 Million High Speed Rail Grant

Trump announced Friday that he is declaring a national emergency to divert funds from military construction projects to build a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border after Congress did not budget the amount he wanted. Mr Newsom is fighting the president over emergency funding for the border wall, so the Trump administration is going after the state's rail funding.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Monday it will cancel $928 million in federal grant funds previously allocated to the California high-speed rail project as the state failed to live up to its agreement.

The Department of Transportation is accusing California officials of missing several deadlines tied to the $929 million appropriation for the state's high speed rail line.

The move by the Trump administration is just the next round in a long battle with the largely Democratic state over immigration and other issues.

'This is California's money, and we are going to fight for it, ' he said.

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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 U.S. taxpayers $3.5 billion for his failed high-speed rail project. Now, after cost overruns and cutbacks in the scope of the ambitious project, the president wants the federal money back. The state has already spent $2.5 billion on the planned train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"California's high-speed rail fantasy quickly became a train to nowhere at taxpayer expense", Schatz said.

The Obama administration awarded the state a total of $3.5 billion in 2010 and California voters in 2008 approved almost $10 billion in bond proceeds.

Newsom, the newly elected California governor, has said the rail project is too expensive to link the two big cities and is suggesting the project be scaled back.

The U.S. agency is now "exploring every legal option" in order to get a return on the $2.5 billion already received by the state, as reported by Reuters. Jerry Brown. The lawsuit is California's 46th against the Trump administration.

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The DOT compounded this sentiment in a letter Tuesday, stating that California "materially failed to comply with the terms of the agreement and has failed to make reasonable progress on the project".

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.

He's pledged to continue environmental work on the full line, which is required to keep the federal money.

"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, '" Newsom said in a statement.

Tuesday's comments won't be the last; the administration has given California until March 5 to formally respond.

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