California Governor Gavin Newsom said last week the state will dramatically scale back a planned $77.3 billion high-speed rail project that has faced cost hikes, delays and management concerns, but will finish a smaller section of the line.
California Governor Gavin Newsom accused the Trump administration of retaliating against the state over its lawsuit seeking to stop construction of a wall on the Mexican border. "This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won't sit idly by".
The Obama administration awarded the state a total of US$3.5 billion in 2010 and California voters in 2008 approved almost US$10 billion in bond proceeds.
President Trump's administration intends to cancel $929 million in federal grant funds yet to be paid for California's high-speed rail project, and also will explore legal options to seek the return of $2.5 billion previously paid for the project.
The U.S. Department of Transportation announcement follows through on President Donald Trump's threats to claw back $3.5 billion that the federal government gave to California to build a bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Newsom said during a speech last week, "The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long".
On Tuesday, after touring an affordable housing community in Long Beach, Newsom met with a group of southern California mayors from cities, including Encinitas, that are considered by the governor's office to be "out of compliance" with state law when it comes to creating new housing for low-income residents.
Last week, Newsom said the rail project "as now planned, would cost too much and take too long".
The administration wants to recover the rest of the $3.5 billion granted to California by President Barack Obama's administration for the project. California has not contributed adequate state funds, and is now demonstrating that it's not going to complete the project on time.More news: Karl Lagerfeld Dead - Fashion Legend Dies at 85 | Karl Lagerfeld, RIP
"It is time is to move on from the broken high-speed rail project and redirect our efforts to infrastructure projects that work for Californians", McCarthy said.
Federal and state Republican lawmakers, including McCarthy, applauded the Trump administration's letter and called for Newsom to scrap the high-speed train entirely. It's put toward constructing a 119-mile (191.5-kilometer) segment of track in the Central Valley expected to cost $10.6 billion.
"By focusing on a single working leg, Newsom can show people the potential - building enthusiasm that could foster other projects around the country". "Send the Federal Government back the Billions of Dollars WASTED!"
Just a few paragraphs later, however, Newsom seemingly disowned the statewide bullet train system that his two predecessors, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown, had championed.
"We're trying to get the San Joaquin moving back in a positive direction", said David Lipari, the marketing director for the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority. Right now, there simply isn't a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A.
The Trump administration action is likely to add further fuel to critics, including those in California, who want the project stopped.
Image copyright California High-Speed Rail Authority Image caption Construction has begun on parts of the rail system Can Trump take back the funds?