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California Sues Feds Over Canceled Rail Funds

Newsom says Trump move was retribution for opposition to immigration policies
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2019 1:14 AM CDT
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) – California sued Tuesday to block the Trump administration from cancelling nearly $1 billion for the state's high-speed rail project, escalating the state's feud with the federal government. The Federal Railroad Administration announced last week it would not give California the money awarded by Congress nearly a decade ago, arguing that the state has not made enough progress on the project. The state must complete construction on a segment of track in the Central Valley agricultural heartland by 2022 to keep the money, and the administration has argued the state cannot meet that deadline. That line of track would be the first built on what the state hopes will eventually become a 520-mile line between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

But Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom says the move is retribution for California's criticism of President Trump's immigration policies, the AP reports. "The decision was precipitated by President Trump's overt hostility to California, its challenge to his border wall initiatives, and what he called the 'green disaster' high-speed rail project," the state said in the lawsuit. The lawsuit faults the Trump administration for halting cooperation with the state on granting environmental clearances for the project. It said terminating the funding would "wreak significant economic damage on the Central Valley and the state." Newsom told reporters the administration is "after us in every way, shape, or form." But he expressed confidence the state will win in court. "Principles and values tend to win out over short-term tweets," Newsom said.

(Read more California stories.)

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