Trump Yanks Billions From California High-Speed Rail

The Federal Rail Administration has pulled funding for California’s High-Speed Rail Project. In a letter sent to High-Speed Rail Authority President, Brian Kelly, the FRA said it will be terminating the 2010 cooperative agreement between the two agencies.

This will pull over $2.5 billion from the project, which has never been fully funded. The project’s price tag is currently hovering around $79 billion.

The 25-page letter outlined all of the reasons the FRA is ending the partnership, stating that the state rail authority had violated the terms of the agreement. “FRA has determined that CHSRA has violated the terms of the FY 10 Agreement and has failed to make reasonable progress on the Project,” the letter said.

Pulling federal funding for the project comes after a series of tweets from President Donald Trump that criticized the High-Speed Rail Authority, the project itself and California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

In his February State of the State address, Newsom said that California would be rerouting funding for the rail to the Central Valley portion of the project that will link Merced and Bakersfield.

Newsom and Trump traded barbs on Twitter, and days later the FRA gave a notice that the federal administration expected to pull their funding. Kelly sent a letter back to the FRA in March, the federal government was silent when it came to California’s High-Speed Rail for two months following the initial announcement.

In their 2019 project update, the High-Speed Rail Authority identified the FRA’s lack of communication and possible funding termination as one of the project’s biggest obstacles. Newsom still thinks the funding belongs to California and has threatened to sue the administration in order to keep it.

“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. “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. This is California’s money, appropriated by Congress, and we will vigorously defend it in court”

The High-Speed Rail project has been in the works for decades, and the state's voters approved a bond to partially fund it in 2008. It is slated to carry passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles when complete, with a station planned in Gilroy. The rail system would also cut north-to-south through Morgan Hill without stopping, though authorities have not determined the exact route this segment of the system would take.

19 Comments

  1. President Trump’s actions are not illegal.
    All of Sacramento’s actions are unethical. The bullet train has been in the works for decades, with absolutely nothing to show for it, just like Obama’s “shovel-ready” jobs. All of it is a farce on us Californians. For shame.

  2. Here lies the rub. Most of the Central Valley votes Republican due to the rural farming nature of the area, kind of like North Dakota and South Dakota. When you pull billions of dollars away from a low populous area such as between Madera and Bakersfield it will have a great impact on the economy of hundreds of businesses and thousands of employees of those enterprises supplying materials and labor to build the HSR. So Trump has again bitten himself in his flea bitten ass just like the dog he is. Good luck in the voting precincts of the San Joaquin Valley where most of his support lives and depends on work to sustain themselves.

    • > So Trump has again bitten himself in his flea bitten ass just like the dog he is.

      Oh dear. Trump is going to lose California by an even bigger margin.

      But I don’t think California’s public works enthusiasts should throw in the towel yet. I’m sure that President Swalwell will reinstate the funds after the 2020 election and California will have an even more grand and magnificent High Speed Rail.

      The biggest and most expensive public works project EVER in the history of the planet!

      • “El Buble”.
        Do you think this will help Trump’s “Bull Dog”, Devin Nunes the Republican Dairy Farmer get re-elected? The HSR goes right through the heart of District-22, Fresno. Democrats will gain more California seats in congress. The Senators from California will remain Democrat no matter who becomes President. Gavin Newsom a Democrat, will appoint a Democrat to replace Kamela Harris should she be elected President, and if not elected she remains a Senator. Non polluting High speed transportation between Southern and Northern California is a must. Hyperloop or HSR, something needs to be done. California’s population has increased 25% in the last ten years. We need to address transportation and housing that our newly created jobs demand, and if not we go backwards. California has never gone backwards. California has always led our nation. As far as I can tell, it always will.

        • > California has always led our nation. As far as I can tell, it always will.

          WAYVOES:

          You seem worried.

          Do you know of some way that Trump could steal the election in California and prevent Eric Swalwell from being the next president?

          Dish!

          You could prevent thousands of suicides.

        • Wow you seem delusional at best. The HSR boondoggle was more of the same old broken politics in the liberal utopia known as Kalifornia. Devin Nunes may not get another term so lets move forward on a project that would have skyrocketed monetarily even more than where we see it at right now. Makes sense to me. It wasnt good for the state. The only ones benefitting were the contractors involved in the over inflated project. California politics = liberals lining pockets of friends and family. Just ask Sam Liccardo, he’s been doing just that for sometime now.

  3. thank you President Trump for doing what the beleaguered taxpayers of ca have been unable to do…driving a stake into the heart of this boondoogle

    • CA leaders using taxpayers money….should be Recalled. CA is going down the tube……leaders from the Governor on down are doing nothing about our people , children living on the street in tents without any water, heat in the cold and rain is outrageous. The “illegal immigrants” are treated better than the taxpaying citizens are given housing, food stamps and all the freebies. Either they do their jobs .or resign……or be recalled. Something has to be done NOW.

  4. Dammit! I was so looking forward to traveling on the HSR between Bakersfield and Merced!!! Oh wait, I have no reason to ever even go to either of those towns. nevermind. Maybe the money should be used to build some needed public housing projects instead of an unneeded choo choo train.

  5. So billions of tax dollars that were never really funded to begin with will not be available to the political machine known as the Democrats in California. Finally some sanity is restored to the situation. The only losers here are Democrat politicians, state contractors, and public employee unions, all of which swill mightily at the public trough.

    Cry me a river.

  6. Voters were seriously misled on HSR when it appeared on the ballot, with false promises, vastly understated cost estimates, and other devious lies. The FRA’s pulling of funds for this boondoggle is the best news for taxpayers in 10 years. And the State of California’s bureaucrats owe federal taxpayers a sizable refund for federal funds to date poured down the drain.

  7. The HSR project, as currently exists, is not the project described in the 2008 bond measure. Good on Trump for pulling the federal funds. Maybe this will slow the project down.

    • > The HSR project, as currently exists, is not the project described in the 2008 bond measure.

      Yes, I believe that is the case.

      What is CURRENTLY being funded with taxpayer dollars AND borrowed money (borrowed at high interest rates from bond sellers with “connections”) is a far different “project”.

      Would someone like to take a crack at naming the system of government that allows a small crowd of nameless, faceless bureaucrats in poorly ventilated rooms with no windows to spend gobs of public money on something as useless and pointless as High Speed Rail?

      It’s not called “democracy”, is it?

      “Kleptocracy”, maybe?

  8. They lied to us in 2008 when they told us how much the project would cost.
    We’ve known for some time now that the project was on the ropes, yet the politicians continue to give money to their friends to do studies and implement all sorts of side projects.
    This is the coup de grace that is needed to finally put it to rest. Trump is doing California a huge favor.

    For $79 billion, there are other creative solutions:
    – Just using the INTEREST, you could pay for 1-2 airplane trips a year from SFO to LAX for every Californian
    – You could buy about 1 million Tesla model S sedans, and run them in self-driving mode like trains down I-5. (you wouldn’t actually need anywhere near that number of cars). Electricity cost for the 400 mile trip would be about $4 per person (assuming 4p / car)
    – Certainly Elon Musk could do his hyperloop if it ever were proven to work; for that price he could probably add a stop in Hawaii ;)
    – You could buy 1000 jumbo jets and start your own airline just running from SFO-LAX.
    – You could add a lane to I-5, only for busses. Let them drive at 110mph or so.

    • What is the cost to the planet and in turn to us to continue spewing CO2 and fumes into our breathable air? Co2 is acidifying our oceans. The warming of the oceans is bleaching the corral reefs. When the oceans die, we die. The calculations of losing this way of life that we now enjoy can’t be measured in dollars. Because there aren’t enough dollars that have been printed or will ever be printed that can replace our lives. Perhaps it’s time to calculate the costs of polluting our environment and the environment of our children and grandchildren yet to come. The 325 mile long parking lot from San Jose to Los Angeles is becoming untenable. Trucks still need to get product to market. We need to double the lanes of I-5, but that adds to the pollution. Mass Transit will give us time. Airlines spew more co2 into the air at higher and more dangerous altitudes which are compounding the problem. It has to stop. We need to electrify. The deserts of California can supply the energy from sunshine to electrify the entire state.

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