UPDATED 1:10 PM PT — Wednesday, March 6, 2019
California is refusing to repay the federal grants it took for its failed high speed rail project, and is demanding more federal dollars to complete what critics are now calling “a train to nowhere.”
The head of California’s high speed rail authority — Brian Kelly — sent two letters to the Federal Railroad Administration this week. In the letters he denied the state violated its federal contract, which gave California $3.5 billion to build high-speed rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Under the terms of the contract, California is required to repay the money if it does not complete the project by a certain deadline.
Earlier this year, Governor Gavin Newsom slammed the breaks on the project due to cost overruns. He also cut the route by more than half.
“The current project as planned would cost too much and respectfully take too long, and there’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency,” stated the California lawmaker.
Kelly said since the governor is not totally abandoning the project, the state is not in violation of its agreement. He blasted the Trump administration for halting an additional $930 million pledged for the project, calling the move illegal and wasteful.
However, President Trump disagrees and has demanded the state to repay $2.5 billion dollars.