SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Federal funding for California’s much-maligned high-speed rail project looks to be in jeopardy.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Railroad Administration released a letter on Thursday saying they are terminating their agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The cooperative agreement would have obligated $928 million towards the project.
“FRA finds that CHSRA has repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of the FY10 Agreement and has failed to make reasonable progress on the project,” the letter reads.
According to the FRA, the project’s change from its original vision of a San Francisco to Los Angeles line was also a reason cited for cutting the grant.
“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 letter goes on to say.
California officials have not commented on the FRA’s move.
Gov. Gavin Newsom had already shown signs he wanted to scale back the project.
During his State of the State address in February, Newsom wanted the project to focus on completing a 171-mile segment already under construction in the Central Valley instead of the initial 520-mile line from SF to LA.
The high-speed rail project has attracted a lot of criticism, including from President Donald Trump. Calling the project a “green disaster,” Trump threatened to cancel federal funding back in a February tweet.
The governor released a statement Thursday in response to the termination of the agreement:
“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.
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.”