Published: Thu, February 21, 2019
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Trump Looks to Recover $1B Federal Grant for California Train Project

Trump Looks to Recover $1B Federal Grant for California Train Project

Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the rail project "as now planned, would cost too much and take too long".

Trump made the comments in response to Newsom's decision to join with 15 other states in a lawsuit filed Monday challenging the Trump administration's declaration of a "national emergency" in regard to illegal immigration, allowing the White House to reroute funds intended for other military and infrastructure projects to the border wall. Mr Newsom is fighting the president over emergency funding for the border wall, so the Trump administration is going after the state's rail funding.

The Trump administration announced on Tuesday that it is exploring "every legal option" to reclaim $2.5 billion in federal funds spent by California on its now-defunct high-speed rail project, and also that it intends to cancel $928 million in federal grants not yet paid for the project to link Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area.

Just weeks after suing Huntington Beach for allegedly failing to comply with state housing laws, Gov. Gavin Newsom met with more than a dozen city and county officials in Long Beach on Tuesday, warning that local concerns would not override his plans to address the state's housing affordability crisis.

'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, " Newsom said in a statement.

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.

'This is California's money, and we are going to fight for it, ' he said.

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.

However, after his announcement, President Donald Trump excoriated the project, tweeting on February 13, "We want that money back now".

In addition, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday: "State financial experts on Tuesday reported fiscal year-to-date revenues are more than $2.3 billion below the expectations set by Newsom's first spending plan".

A full-scale mockup of a high-speed train on display at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., in 2015. The price of the rail has drastically increased, from an originally estimated $45 billion to $77 billion.

Republican lawmakers in the Golden State responded to Newsom's pullout from the project last week by calling for a referendum vote on Newsom's plan to build a much shorter, 171-mile railway through the state's Central Valley.

He claimed the "failed Fast Train project" was beset by "world record setting" cost overruns and had become "hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!" Newsom said preliminary work on the entire system would continue and that he would seek more federal and private funding.

An elevated section of the high-speed rail under construction in Fresno, California.

The president also said that, besides allegedly wasting federal money, the state improperly changed the terms under which it received the federal government's funding.

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