California sues to prevent withholding of high-speed rail funds

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Brian Turner

Brian Turner

California and the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) filed a suit to prevent the Trump Administration from canceling a nearly $1 billion federal grant awarded in 2010 for the project.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco, claims the U.S. Transportation Department lacks authority to withhold the $929 million it was due, and is seeking an injunction to keep the grant intact.

The state also plans to petition for an immediate temporary restraining order to prevent the department’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) from redirecting the money to other projects.

Late last week, it was announced that the FRA terminated its Cooperative Agreement with the 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 a statement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the Trump Administration’s final decision an illegal and direct assault on California and the thousands of workers building the project.