Trump, California Face Off in Political Feud

The Associated Press

"It's no coincidence that the Administration's threat comes 24 hours after California led 16 states in challenging the President's farcical 'national emergency, ' " Newsom said in a statement, referring to Trump's emergency declaration to secure funding for his wall on the Mexican border. The "bullet train" project, which Newsom now says probably won't be completed, has cost the state and federal government an astounding $77 billion - more than 12 times what Trump requested from Congress to fund border wall construction in key areas.

"California now wants to scale back their already failed "fast train" project by substantially shortening the distance so that it no longer goes from LA to San Francisco", Trump said in a statement on Twitter.

"This is California's money, and we are going to fight for it", he said.

A change in the project's initial plan to have a high-speed rail stretch across the state was cited by both the president and the Transportation Department's insistence that the money be returned.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in his State of the State address February 12 that he plans to scale back the California high-speed rail project days before President Donald Trump called for California to repay $2.5 billion in federal funding for the project.

"Governor Newsom's recent comments significantly alter the scope and objectives of the California High Speed Rail project, eliminating the objective for which Federal funding was originally awarded - end-to-end high speed rail service from San Francisco to Los Angeles".

Newsom said during a speech last week, "The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long". It can take the money back, for example, if the grantee fails to make "adequate progress" or "fails to complete the project or one of its tasks" or if the state doesn't meet its matching fund requirements.If the federal government decides to take the money back, it doesn't have to wait for California to write a check.

Meanwhile, California's Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, refused to return the state's money. The project as now planned would cost too much and take too long.

In his first State of the State address to lawmakers on February 12, Newsom said California will dramatically scale back on the project.

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Money, of course, remains the overarching issue with the project, with the price tag for a statewide train system closing in on $100 billion.

"California's high-speed rail fantasy quickly became a train to nowhere at taxpayer expense", Schatz said.

Ronald Batory of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) wrote a letter to California state officials, saying that the DOT was seeking to defund the California High-speed Rail project over failure "to make reasonable progress".

President Donald Trump has lambasted the project as wasteful and called for the state to return federal funding.

The Transportation Department also said it was "actively exploring every legal option" to get back an additional $2.5 billion grant that is being used to finance the construction of 119 miles of rail line in the Central Valley.

Batory also pointed to California Gov.

"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.

UC Berkeley lecturer in city and regional planning Peter Albert, who supports Newsom's decision, compared the cost of the high-speed railway to the BART system.

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