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The Trump administration declared California’s high-speed rail project dead yesterday, even while state officials extolled its beautiful plumage. Noting that the state had abandoned the full San Francisco to Los Angeles vision which prompted federal funding for the project, the White House pulled back nearly a billion dollars — and said it would come after the remaining $2.5 billion in federal investments as well:
The Trump administration on Thursday followed through with its plan to pull more than $900 million in federal funds from California’s beleaguered high-speed rail project.
The U.S. Department of Transportation said California officials “failed to make reasonable progress” and had not met federal requirements for a project beset with cost overruns. But the decision is also consistent with President Trump’s penchant for sparring with leaders of the liberal-leaning state. …
In addition to revoking the federal government’s agreement to contribute $929 million to the project, the administration Thursday said it “continues to consider all options regarding the return of $2.5 billion” in stimulus funds given to the state.
The letter from railroad official Ronald Batory noted that the project was years behind schedule, many billions of dollars over budget, and still didn’t have any realistic date for completion. The decision to focus the project on two small population centers rather than the link between California’s two major metropolises was the last straw. The federal government didn’t sink $3.5 billion into the project just to connect 600,000 people:
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