Rich Pedroncelli / AP
The Trump administration says it intends to cancel a $ 929 million federal grant for California's high-speed rail project. The administration also wants to recover another $ 2.5 billion in federal funds already spent by California on the project.
The Department of Transportation is accusing Californian officials of missing out on a number of deadlines linked to $ 929 million in state high speed rail lines. 19659008] In a letter from the Federal Railroad Administration to the State High-Speed Rail Authority, the federal officials say it will terminate the grant on March 5.
The FRA letter adds that the agency is concerned that California will change its original plan to "connect San Francisco in the north and Los Angeles and Anaheim in the south."
In his state of the state address last week, the Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, proposed to scale back the project, and focus on completing a link in the Central Valley between Bakersfield and Merced.
A day later, President Trump tweeted that California's high-speed rail
"California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after spending and waste a lot of billions of dollars. They are obliged to federal government Three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now, "Trump said.
Newsom responded with his own tweet saying," Fake news. We're building high-speed rail, connecting The Central Valley and beyond. This is CA's money, allocated by Congress for this project. We're not giving it back. The train leaves the station – better get on board! (Also, desperately looking for some wall $$ ?? )
In a statement Tuesday, Newsom said the Trump ad ministry's threat "is clear political retribution" tied to California's involvement in a lawsuit challenging the president's emergency declaration to build a border wall.
Trump himself linked the two issues in a tweet Tuesday, "As I predicted, 16 states, led by the Open Border Democrats and the radical left, have filed a lawsuit in, of course, the 9th Circuit! California, the state that has spent millions of dollars on their out-of-control Fast Train, without any hope of completing it, seems to be the responsibility! "
The cost of the original plan to build a high-speed link between San Francisco and Los Angeles is currently estimated at $ 77 billion, about twice the initial price tag.
As the Associated Press reports, the $ 929 million that Trump is threatening to cancel was approved by Congress almost a decade ago. It is not clear how the administration can force the California to return the $ 2.5 billion it has already spent, although the FRA says the agency is exploring all available legal options.