The US Department of Transportation on Tuesday formally notified the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) of the intention to terminate the agreement to build a high speed train between Los Angeles and San Fransisco.
The defunding is the result of CHSRA failure to make reasonable progress on the project. The deobligation of $928,620,000 is because of the failure to submit critical grant deliverables, secure funding as outlined in scheduled contribution rates, and the inability to complete the project by 2022 deadline. The letter also cited the recent State to State address where Governor Gavin Newsom presented a new proposal that “frustrates the purpose for which Federal Funding was already awarded.” The Department of Transportation may also look to recover the federal funds already invested in the project.
CHSRA has until March 5 to respond with proof of satisfying commitments under the agreement, making reasonable progress and that the Governor’s address did not constitute a fundamental change to the project.
Trump tweeted: “California now wants to scale back their already failed ‘fast train’ project by substantially shortening the distance so that it no longer goes from L.A. to San Francisco. A different deal and record cost overruns. Send the Federal Government back the Billions of Dollars WASTED!”
Newsom accused Trump of “political retribution,” tying the withdrawal of money to California’s recent decision to sue Trump over the declaration of a national emergency for border wall construction.