California to Sell Debt in March for Train Trump Blasts as Waste

WASHINGTON DC- FEBRUARY 15 U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on border security during a Rose Garden event at the White House

The action marks an escalation in the battle between President Donald Trump and the state of California since Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week that the project lacked a path to complete a statewide system and vowed to scale back the $77 billion mega-project.

Gov. Gavin Newsom slammed the move as "political retribution" for his state's leading role in suing the White House over Trump's declaration of a national emergency to build his border wall.

"This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won't sit idly by", Newsom said.

This came after Trump declared a national emergency on the United States border after Congress refused to fund a proposed wall on the Mexican border and ordered money diverted from other projects to fund the barrier.

However, Newsom's admissions during that announcement may have cost his state almost $1 billion in promised federal funding - and $2.5 billion the state has already received.

The Trump administration wants to cut off $929 million in federal funding grants to California's ambitious high-speed rail project and, at the same time, is "actively exploring" every legal option to take back an additional $2.5 billion in federal grant funds that had already been given to the state.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) announced Tuesday that it would seek to cancel more than $900 million in federal grants originally approved to construct a high-speed railway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The letter Tuesday said the CHSRA had failed to meet required state expenditures by a $100 million by the end of previous year and that the project will not meet its 2022 completion date as set out in the grant agreement.

A coalition of 16 USA states sued Trump and top members of his administration on Monday, saying the emergency declaration would cause them to lose millions of dollars in federal funding for national guard units dealing with counter-drug activities and that the redirection of funds from authorised military construction projects would damage their economies.

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In response to this decision, California High-Speed Rail Authority, or CHSRA, CEO Brian Kelly issued a statement supporting Newsom and the CHSRA is ready to "expand the project's economic impact in the Central Valley".

Newsom's new plan would only consist of 110 miles of track in the Central Valley, from Bakersfield to Merced. The move allows the president to bypass Congress to use money from the Pentagon and other budgets.

"California's high-speed rail fantasy quickly became a train to nowhere at taxpayer expense", Schatz said. He wrote that the reduced project wasn't what the federal government had committed to help fund.

Trump tweeted again Wednesday that California should "send the federal government back the billions of dollars WASTED" on its "failed" train project.

Federal and state Republican lawmakers, including McCarthy, applauded the Trump administration's letter and called for Newsom to scrap the high-speed train entirely.

The agreement's termination is set to take effect March 5, although Batory offered California officials an opportunity to dispute the government's findings.

"By focusing on a single working leg, Newsom can show people the potential - building enthusiasm that could foster other projects around the country".

Image copyright California High-Speed Rail Authority Image caption Construction has begun on parts of the rail system Can Trump take back the funds? "We're not giving it back", he tweeted.

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