Trump To California Governor Newsom: Give America That $3.5 Billion BACK!
California Gavin Newsom has halted the catastrophic high speed rail project in the state stating that there “isn’t a path” for completing the project.
“Let’s be real,” Newsom said. “The project, as currently planned, would cost too much and take too long . . . Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.”
But there is still $3.5 Billion dollars of unspent federal funds left that California has not spent.
Newsom mentioned the money in his State of the State address when he revealed to California that he was halting the project.
Newsom said the state risked having to return the $3.5 billion in federal money if building stops on the Central Valley leg or it doesn’t complete the environmental reviews.
Instead of the full San Francisco to Los Angeles masterpiece, California will instead complete just the 171-mile segment started in the Central Valley from from Bakersfield to Merced.
So Newsom’s plan is to complete the already started section of high speed rail between Bakersfield and Merced, which would literally be a waste.
But President Donald Trump demanded Wednesday evening that the State of California return $3.5 billion in federal funds.
“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” the president tweeted. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a “green” disaster!”
California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars. They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a “green” disaster!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2019
It really is Newsom’s fault. He did say, rather belligerently, like he was trying to start a fight:
“Abandoning high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions and billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises, partially filled commitments and lawsuits to show for it,” Newsom said. “And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”
But Newsom hit back, “It’s CALIFORNIA’S money!”
Fake news. We’re building high-speed rail, connecting the Central Valley and beyond.
This is CA’s money, allocated by Congress for this project. We’re not giving it back.
The train is leaving the station — better get on board!
(Also, desperately searching for some wall $$??) https://t.co/9hxEfEX8Vm
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) February 14, 2019
The project’s cost and scope have long been a source of controversy. In 2018, the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has estimated the project’s year-of-expenditure cost at $77.3 billion and up to $98.1 billion.
The boondoggle started in 1996 when the CHSRA was established to begin formal planning in preparation for a ballot measure in 1998 or 2000. Finally, in 2008, California voters approved the issuance of $9 billion in bonds for high speed rail in Proposition 1A.
The timeline that ensues after that is a long story of more and more money, coming from both the California taxpayer ans well as the rest of us through the federal government.
The money was granted to California as part of President Barack Obama’s stimulus, which set aside “$8 billion in federal stimulus money to create 13 high-speed rail corridors,” the New York Times reported at the time.
Obama pressured states to take the cash — which Democrat-governed states eagerly did. But the Republican wave of 2010 brought new governors to office, and several rejected their state’s high-speed rail plans as costly and unnecessary.
A state audit issued in November said California’s High‑Speed Rail Authority’s “flawed decision making and poor contract management have contributed to billions in cost overruns and delays.”
Get the popcorn, this should be fun!