Trump derails $929M in funding for the bullet train, jeopardizing construction

Feds are looking to take back another $2.5B, but construction will proceed according to project officials

May.May 17, 2019 03:00 PM
Gavin Newsom, Donald Trump and a rendering of the train
Gavin Newsom, Donald Trump and a rendering of the train

The California high-speed rail project may have already fallen off the tracks.

Following up on threats from March, the Trump administration has canceled a $929 million grant for construction of California’s bullet train in the Central Valley, and it is considering taking back other funds for the $77 billion-dollar project as well, the Los Angeles Times reported.

State officials said there will be no immediate changes to construction because the decision could be reversed in court, but the loss of funds could be disastrous for the project.

The Federal Railroad Administration cited California’s failures to accurately forecast development schedules or show that the project could be completed by 2022. Now, a decade after voters approved it, the full plan for a system, which would run from L.A. to San Francisco is at least $46 billion over budget and at least a decade behind schedule.

The federal government warned that it intended to kill the grant earlier this year, citing Gov. Gavin Newsom’s comments on the state not having a plan to complete the train system.

Newsom has vowed a battle in court over the cut funds.

The Federal Railroad Administration [FRA] also warned that officials are weighing options to recapture $2.5 billion from a grant that the state received and has already spent. The Times reported that the Transportation Department could withhold funds from other programs to recoup the money. The fFRA reportedly cut communications with the state rail authority in February. [LAT]Gregory Cornfield

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