Progressive, liberal California’s lofty plan to build a high-speed rail connecting San Francisco to Los Angeles has yet to come even close to fruition.
Back in February, Trump criticized Democrat California Gov. Newsom for changing up the plans for the bullet train’s tracks – a plan which would first build the rail across California’s Central Valley (not from SF to LA) and require over triple the amount of money (coming from taxpayers) more than California actually had to spend.
Now, Trump has pulled $1 billion in funding from the high speed rail plan and is considering forcing California to return the $2.5 billion they’ve already wasted on the project that hasn’t gone anywhere.
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Sorry, California. Your ambition may be high, but so is your delusion.
Take a look at the news on this that hit Twitter:
Trump's action to counter the complete waste of money that has been the CA high speed rail plan angered Gov. Newsom, who has said he will be taking the administration to court over it.
However, taxpayers are celebrating the president's wise decision to cut the funding.
Take a look at these awesome Twitter responses to the news:
NBC News has more details:
The Trump administration canceled nearly $1 billion Thursday in federal money for California's high-speed rail project, further throwing into question the future of the ambitious plan to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom immediately pledged to take the administration to court, though the state has not yet filed a lawsuit.
The "action is illegal and a direct assault on California," Newsom said in an emailed statement. "This is California's money, appropriated by Congress, and we will vigorously defend it in court."
The official word of the funding cancellation by the Federal Railroad Administration came several months after President Donald Trump first threatened to withdraw it.
His comments came in response to Newsom shifting the project's immediate focus to a 171-mile stretch of track in the Central Valley, saying there currently wasn't a path for the full line.
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.
The state has only about $20 billion available for the project at this time, far short of the estimated $77 billion it would take to complete it.
Newsom has characterized Trump's threats to the project as retribution against California for resisting various Trump administration policies.
While the $929 million is a critical piece of the funding plan, the state did not plan to spend it until 2021. If a court battle over the money drags on, that could put the state in a position to win back the money or get more from the federal government if Democrats win the White House and control of Congress in 2020.
Still, rail officials expressed concern about losing the money.
"Losing a billion is, I would say, devastating to the overall project," said Russ Fong, the project's outgoing chief financial officer. "We have time to hopefully come to some type of resolution before those dollars are actually needed."
Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson, who represents Fresno and is one of the project's harshest critics, said the state is witnessing "the beginning of the end" for high-speed rail.
The Trump administration has also threatened to make California return $2.5 billion that has already been spent on the project.
The Washington Times also had the following to say:
The Trump administration cancelled nearly $1 billion in federal money for California’s high-speed rail project Thursday, further throwing into question the future of the ambitious plan to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Federal Railroad Administration’s announcement it would not give California the money came several months after sniping between President Donald Trump and Gov. Gavin Newsom over the project. The administration will still try to force California to return another $2.5 billion that has already been spent.
Trump had seized on Newsom’s remarks in February that the project as planned would cost too much and take too long. Newsom has shifted the project’s immediate focus to a 171-mile line in the state’s Central Valley, but he said he’s still committed to building the full line.
Still, federal officials said California has repeatedly failed to make “reasonable progress” and “abandoned its original vision.”
NPR additionally commented:
The Trump administration says it's terminating a federal agreement with California's high-speed rail project and taking away nearly $1 billion in funding, setting up yet another legal fight between California and the White House.
In a statement released Thursday, the Federal Railroad Administration says California has "repeatedly failed to comply" with the agreement and "failed to make reasonable progress on the project."
It adds that the state has "abandoned its original vision of a high-speed passenger rail service connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, which was essential to its applications for FRA grant funding." The statement also said the FRA was still exploring "all options" to get back $2.5 billion in federal funds it had already awarded for the project from the state.
In a statement Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom called the termination "political retribution," illegal and "a direct assault on California."
He would argue California has not abandoned its original high-speed rail vision, though cost hikes and delays already have led the state to scale back the project — now estimated at $77.3 billion.