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    Trump Administration Derails California’s High Speed Rail Project

    Trump Administration Derails California’s High Speed Rail Project

    Trump administration officially terminates $929-million Obama-era grant for California bullet train.

    Earlier this year, we reported that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) cancelled millions in grants for the high speed rail project that California Governor Gavin Newsom has substantially scaled back.

    Newsom has tried fighting this move, arguing that California needed these funds to complete a more limited-scale project than the Los Angeles to San Francisco route originally planned. However, the Trump administration did not buy the argument, so it has officially ended the Obama-era agreement.

    The Trump administration transformed its threats against the California bullet train project into a sour reality Thursday, terminating a $929-million grant for construction in the Central Valley.

    While loss of the money poses a potentially devastating hit to the project, state officials said, no immediate construction changes are planned because the federal government’s action could be reversed in future legal action.

    Termination of the 2010 grant was based on the state’s multiple failures to forecast accurate schedules, report key milestones and show that it can meet deadlines to complete work by 2022, the Federal Railroad Administration said in a 25-page letter announcing its decision.

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority “is chronically behind in project construction activities and has not been able to correct or mitigate its deficiencies,” said Ronald Batory, chief of the federal agency.

    It gets even better. The administration has also planned to go after funds already towards this fiasco.

    “California has abandoned its original vision of a high-speed passenger rail service connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, which was essential to its applications for FRA grant funding,” the agency said in a statement.

    What’s more, it added, construction delays mean the state hasn’t complied with conditions for federal funding “and has failed to make reasonable progress on the project.”

    The Trump administration said it “continues to consider all options” for clawing back the $2.5 billion in federal funding that California has already received for the project, something state officials said would be against the law.

    Newsom is less than thrilled with the move.

    “The Trump administration’s action is illegal and a direct assault on California, our green infrastructure, and the thousands of Central Valley workers who are building this project,” Newsom said in a statement Thursday.

    The governor added, “Just as we have seen from the Trump administration’s attacks on our clean air standards, our immigrant communities and in countless other areas, the Trump administration is trying to exact political retribution on our state.

    California Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove asked for the funds to go towards water infrastructure. Given the condition of the state’s dams and the struggles of our Central Valley farmers to irrigate their fields, those projects would benefit more from taxpayer dollars.

    This is the kind of green new deal I can support! However, safe dams and productive farms don’t have the same virtue signaling power as high speed rail.



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    The Oroville dam seems to be having problems again – they’ve had two years. Mother Nature is not known to be patient.

    As to the rail, they should either figure out how to build the stupid thing they originally agreed to or give the money back.

    johnny dollar | May 17, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    The “bullet train” was a colossal lie from the beginning. Initially, it was represented as extending from San Diego to Sacramento, with legs into Los Angeles and San Francisco. The “estimates” (the proper word is “lies”) of the duration of travel between any two of these points were complete fantasies, as were projections of ridership, and ticket cost. The biggest lie of all was the cost of construction. Anyone with a brain knew that this proposal was a pack of lies.
    Unfortunately, there were not enough voters with brains to recognize this farcical pipe dream for what it was, and the voters passed the measure against all logic. Which, of course, clearly demonstrates the prime reason that California, in the long term, is doomed. The voters are uninformed and not interested in becoming informed.
    The legislature’s reasons for supporting this fiscal black hole are probably grounded in abnormal psychology or, most likely, mere corruption.
    If this travesty of transportation was ever completed, even the truncated version now being discussed, it would require massive subsidies every year.
    It will never even break even.

      artichoke in reply to johnny dollar. | May 18, 2019 at 12:36 am

      These days it would be impossible to accomplish building I-5 if it didn’t already exist. Or Hoover Dam, or the Empire State Building. We can’t do those things any more.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | May 17, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    How oh how will Millionaire Sandy OC ever get to Hawaii now?

    amatuerwrangler | May 17, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Let’s clear up a couple things:
    1. The vote to do this fiasco was NOT unanimous. Some of us saw through the BS used to sell the project;
    2. “High speed” it is not; too many intermediate stops between SF and LA;
    3. They have never had anything close to a viable plan to get over the hill from Bakersfield to the LA basin.
    4. The whole boondoggle is a pay-back to the construction unions for supporting Jerry Brown’s (Grandpa Simpson) gubernatorial campaign.

    And, yes, the Oroville Dam is back in the news. Anyone interested should Google for the independent assessment report that came from the original spillway failure. there appears to be some problems with the original dam construction, c.1966.

    But our highways still have potholes….

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