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Trump Steps Up Rail Feud With California

Newsom says it's 'political retribution'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 20, 2019 2:23 AM CST
Updated Feb 20, 2019 6:48 AM CST
In this Feb. 26, 2015 photo, a full-scale mock-up of a high-speed train is displayed at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, file)
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(Newser) – In what California Gov. Gavin Newsom calls "clear political retribution," President Trump attacked the state's troubled high-speed rail project Tuesday, a day after California joined a lawsuit against his emergency declaration. The Transportation Department said Tuesday that it plans to cancel a $929 million federal grant to the California High-Speed Rail Authority and is "exploring every option" to get back $2.5 billion it had already provided, the Los Angeles Times reports. "The failed Fast Train project in California, where the cost overruns are becoming world record setting, is hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!" Trump tweeted.

Federal Railroad Administration chief Ronald Batory said the grant was being pulled because California had "failed to make reasonable progress on the project." Newsom suggested last week that the $77 billion project would be scaled back, though he later said it would eventually be completed in full—and said the state would not be returning federal funds. "It’s no coincidence that the administration’s threat comes 24 hours after California led 16 states in challenging the president’s farcical 'national emergency,'" he said in a statement Tuesday, per the New York Times. "This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won’t sit idly by. This is California’s money, and we are going to fight for it." (Read more California stories.)

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