Trump Administration Demands California Pay Back Over $2 Billion for Bullet Train

Gov Newson said in a statement on Tuesday that "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 U.S. Department of Transportation said in a letter Tuesday to California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Brian Kelly that it intends to terminate the funding, totaling more than $928 million, next month. Newsom has responded that this move is political payback for Trump's regular tangles with California; in particular, the Golden State joining others in challenging Trump's "national emergency" to get the border wall funded.

The lawsuit, which California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Friday, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Monday evening.

California's leaders have offered their state as a "counter-proposal" to Trump's America - a demonstration that progressive policies and regulations can go hand-in-hand with economic growth and well-being. Newsom said that he will make sure that the Central Valley section was finished on time so as not to return the money to the federal government as stipulated in the agreement.

A day later, President Trump tweeted that California's high-speed rail project was a " "green" disaster" and demanded that the state return billions of federal dollars.

"This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won't sit idly by", Newsom continued. The state has already spent $2.5 billion on the planned train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

"California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars".


Now, Newsom said he plans to build a high-speed line in California's Central Valley from Merced to Bakersfield instead. The move allows the president to bypass Congress to use money from the Pentagon and other budgets.

"Unfortunately, President Trump is playing politics with California's jobs, infrastructure, and economy", he said in an emailed statement. However, the Democratic governor insisted he isn't killing the rest of the project altogether and said the state will explore ways of financing a project that links the Bay Area with Southern California.

The project has faced cost overruns and years of delays.

Under the grant agreement between California and the federal government, signed in 2010, there are several scenarios in which the federal government could take the money back. Newsom said preliminary work on the entire system would continue and that he would seek more federal and private funding.

The Trump administration is planning to withdraw nearly $1 billion in pending funding for California's long-awaited high-speed train project, citing cost overruns and inefficiencies.

FRA Administrator Ronald Batory wrote, in a letter to California officials, that the state authority in charge of the rail project did not comply with the terms of the $929.6 million in federal funds.


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