Trump administration moves to pull funding for California bullet train – NBC News

Amid a social media feud between President Trump and California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the federal government announced its intention Tuesday to cancel nearly $1 billion in pending funding for the state’s long-planned, high-speed train.

In a letter to California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Brian P. Kelly on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Transportation outlined the government’s reasons for pulling funding. The state has not come up with its own promised funding, will miss a 2022 completion target and has recently reconfigured the project outside the bounds of a federal pact for funding, railroad chief Ronald L. Batory wrote.

The federal department will “de-obligate” $928,620,000 in promised cash, but California will be given a chance to argue its case, Batory said in the letter. He also said the Trump administration is “exploring all available legal options” to recover $2.5 billion in past federal grants for the project.

An illustration of California’s high-speed rail project.CA.gov

Newsom last week announced plans to scale back the $77 billion project. Rather than taking travelers between Los Angeles and San Francisco as originally envisioned, the train will now seek to bridge the Central Valley cities of Bakersfield and Merced.

Construction of that 160-mile stretch is underway.

Trump reacted to Newsom’s announcement on Twitter last week: “California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars. They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a ‘green’ disaster!”

The governor responded by noting that the project had not been scrapped and that the president was “desperately searching” for money to fund his proposed border wall.

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