The Trump Administration sent a clear message to California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom when they canceled nearly $1 billion in federal funding for the state’s high-speed rail project.
The Federal Railroad Administration said it would no longer be investing the $928,620,000 that it initially promised to the state because, as BizPac Review reports, it “failed to make reasonable progress on the project, repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of its grant, and abandoned its original vision for a high-speed train connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco.”
The Trump administration is doing more that just cancel future funding—it wants back more that $2.5 billion that it already spent on the failed operation.
According to the report, Gov. Newsom admitted that the high speed rail was not going to plan and would continue to struggle:
In February 2019, Governor Newsom admitted that “the current project, as planned, would cost too much and take too long…There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency.”
Instead, he proposed using the money to build a high-speed train between two smaller cities (Bakersfield and Merced). That was not the original plan, nor the reason why the $1 billion in federal funds were allocated to California.
The initial plan called for a 520-mile high-speed rail system from Los Angeles to San Francisco that would have allowed trains to travel up to 220 miles per hour. The train system was supposed to be fully operational by 2033.
But it was clear to Governor Newsom and President Trump that that would never happen.
According to Fox Business, California attorney Harmeet Dhillon said Trump is well within his rights to nix the agreement and demand the previously paid money back.
“Grants given by the government are always given with certain strings attached and conditions. The governor of California announced that the project that the money was given for is no longer going to be built as such,” Dhillon told the network. “In fact, President Trump is within his rights to try to claw back the $2.5 billion that has [already] been given for this project.”
“The federal government gave California money to build a specific project that is no longer being built. Simply put: That’s the people’s money,” the attorney continued. “And it belongs back in Washington for use for other purposes that are actually going to be built.”
With the move, Trump is telling the California governor that he will not tolerate the lackadaisical construction, its over-speeding and under-delivering, and their flippant change of a previously agreed upon contract. He could also be sending another strong message to the governor who has repeatedly resisted him on immigration.
California has repeatedly sued the Trump administration over its immigration policies. And, the state operates as a “sanctuary state,” protecting illegal immigrants from federal immigration enforcement.