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Derailed: Trump Admin Pulls $1B in Funding for California High-Speed Rail Project

California ‘abandoned its original vision for a train connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco’

By Katy Grimes, May 16, 2019 9:52 pm

The Trump Administration’s Federal Railroad Administration announced Thursday it will not be providing California the nearly $1 billion promised for the High Speed Rail project. California “repeatedly failed to comply with the terms” of its grant, “failed to make reasonable progress on the Project,” and “abandoned its original vision” for a train connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, according to the railroad administration.

In February, California Globe reported:

The U.S. Department of Transportation terminated its agreement with the California High Speed Rail Authority in a letter Tuesday, and ordered the return of more than $928 million not yet spent on construction of the bullet train.

The Federal Railroad Administration said it intends to terminate the grant effective March 5, and said California rail officials failed to comply with the terms of the funding, appropriated in 2010 by Congress.

The Federal Railroad Administration said in the February letter California High Speed Rail Authority project has missed “timely and satisfactory financial reports,” as well as several important deadlines tied to the $928 million appropriation. The letter addressed that CHSRA has no chance of finishing the first phase of the project by the 2022 deadline.

So this news Thursday was no surprise. California was duly warned.

California Globe published an op-ed by Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove Thursday about the High Speed Rail, where she said, “The high-speed rail project has run off its rails and become a massive waste of taxpayer dollars.” 

After the Federal Railroad Administration announcement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would take the Trump administration to court, though he has not yet filed a lawsuit – yet. The “action is illegal and a direct assault on California,” Newsom said in a statement. “This is California’s money, appropriated by Congress, and we will vigorously defend it in court.”

In her statement following the Trump administration announcement, Sen. Republican Leader Grove said, “Today the federal government acknowledged what everyone who isn’t being paid by the authority already knows; California’s high-speed rail project is dead. The only question that remains is — how many more taxpayer dollars are going to be wasted chasing this impractical dream?”

“Right now, the federal government has put California on notice that we aren’t getting the nearly $1 billion that the High-Speed Rail Authority says it needs to complete the Merced to Bakersfield line. When voters were asked to consider this project, it looked a lot different. Now, the project will take longer, will cost more money, and will no longer travel to its original destination. This is not the project voters approved. It is time for California to cancel this big rail fail,” said Grove.

“Newsom later said he was still committed to building the entire line but wanted to take a ‘building blocks’ approach that first created a working line in the Central Valley,” NBC reported.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra already has more than 50 lawsuits filed against the Trump administration, as California Globe has reported.

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Katy Grimes

Katy Grimes, the Editor of the California Globe, is a long-time Investigative Journalist covering the California State Capitol, and the co-author of California's War Against Donald Trump: Who Wins? Who Loses?
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3 thoughts on “Derailed: Trump Admin Pulls $1B in Funding for California High-Speed Rail Project

  1. My Dad lives in Long Beach near the Blue Line (connects to Union Station). I leave in SF close to the Transbay terminal. It’s sad to see the dysfunction of this project in a state that once built the Colorado Aqueduct, LA Memorial Coliseum, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Transbay Tube. #makecaliforniagreatagain

  2. That’s turned out to be one expensive artist rendering…

    Oh yeah, we got a cute animated movie clip outta the deal too….

    Stop voting for Democrats!!! They’re playing you for SUCKERS!!!

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