The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) terminated its Cooperative Agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) by de-obligating more than $928 million for 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 agency said in a statement. “Additionally, 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 FRA added it continues to consider all options regarding the return of $2.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds awarded to CHSRA.
In February, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans to scale back the project, calling for the authority to focus on building only the Central Valley segment of the planned San Francisco to Los Angeles train.
Newsom added that abandoning the project entirely would mean the state will have wasted billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises and lawsuits to show for it, and wasn’t “interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”
The decision also comes after a letter from CHSRA CEO Brian Kelly asking the Administration to rethink its plan, calling the plan to take away the money “disastrous policy.”
Several news outlets, including The Washington Post, reported that Newsom called the Trump Administration’s final decision an illegal and a direct assault on California and the thousands of workers building the 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,” Newsom said in a statement. “This is California’s money, appropriated by Congress, and we will vigorously defend it in court.”