Time is noteworthy given the ongoing debate surrounding the recently proposed Green New Deal, which the Democrats advocated as a way to combat climate change and revise the economy and the US transport system. This plan, not taking into account the specifics, relies heavily on the fact that high-speed rail transport can go a long way towards reducing carbon emissions in the country.
Republicans who have spent the past few days criticizing the plan as impractical has captured the announcement of News as yet another proof that high-speed rail is a bad idea.
President Donald Trump wrote a tweet
on Wednesday evening that California now pledged $ 3.5 billion to the federal government for a canceled project. "We now want to return this money," he wrote. "The whole project is a" green "catastrophe!"
Newsom responded in kind, saying that money had already been allocated to California. "We build high-speed rail transport," said the governor
. "This is the money of the CA, allocated by the Congress for this project. We do not give it back."
Who is right? First, the facts.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 provided a federal grant of $ 2,553 billion for the project, and the Consolidated Allowance Law for Fiscal Year 2010 provided a grant of $ 929 million for the project. It is from these two figures that Trump receives his $ 3.5 billion. He claims that California is bound to the federal government.
But these grants came with agreements, and so far California has not abandoned these arrangements, which means that it is not obliged – so far – to return the money.
When California owes to the federal government?
Not for several years, if at all. According to the California State Auditors' report of November 2018, "breach of grant agreements may require the Plenipotentiary to pay off these 3.5 billion Dollars of federal grant funds, of which $ 2.6 billion have already been spent."
So what's in these arrangements?
The treaties relating to both grants require the High-Speed Railroad Administration of California to complete a high-speed train for the "initial portion of the central valley," a 120-mile stretch from Mader County to the county of Kearn by the end of December 2022
One key point: does not require California high-speed railways to build trains for the trail.
So, if California simply decided to build this segment of the high-speed railroad, then, according to the agreements, the money will not be returned to the federal government; even if no trains were built for the route. "Those [trains] were going to be acquired in the next big segment going from Shafter to San Jose," said Jeff Davis, Senior Research Fellow at the Eno Transport Center.
If California can not complete this section of the road by the end of 2022, they will probably ask for another amendment to the agreement from the Federal Rail Administration.
"At this point, theoretically, the FRA may object to this request and request $ 3.5 billion back," Davis said. "But it depends on who is in the White House and works [the Department of Transportation] in December 2022, and only what kind of hardcore they really want to play."