California is suing the Trump administration for recently pulling nearly one billion dollars in promised funding for a high-speed rail system, one that has been under construction for years and dubbed by many as “the train to nowhere.”
Despite being awarded $929 million by Congress years ago, the Federal Railroad Administration announced last week that California will not receive the massive amount because almost no progress has been made on the high-speed rail system. The deal was originally that the state would finish part of the track by 2022 with part of the funding, but many have argued that the progress so far inspires little confidence that the state could meet the 2022 deadline.
The lawsuit claims the motivation for pulling the funding is that President Donald Trump is not happy with many California lawmakers objecting to his border security and immigration policies. In reality, Trump has long been a critic of the project, as have many other Republicans.
“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 lawsuit against the Trump administration states.
The high-speed rail project, which is supposed to provide travel service from Los Angeles to San Francisco, has long been mocked for numerous delays and over-bloated budget projections. It currently is projected to cost $77 billion and the best hope from California is that it would be done by 2033.
Despite Trump pulling $929 million in funding, those funds were not even expected to be touched by California until 2021. The $929 million was meant for a part of the track that is projected to cost a whopping $12 billion.
California has so far spent $2.5 billion in federal funding on the project since it was approved by voters in 2008. The rail system was pitched as revolutionary at the time and supporters said it would take mere hours to travel back and forth on it.
California is also seeking a restraining order to keep the president from allocating the $929 million elsewhere.
The lawsuit against the Trump administration claims that the decision to pull the funding by the Federal Railroad Administration, which is part of the Transportation Department, goes against the department’s own “procedures and policies.”
Source: Fox News
The decision is “in violation of its own procedures and policies, was arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and contrary to law, and threatens to wreak significant economic damage on the Central Valley and the State,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit also issues a sequence of events that it claims prove political motivation, though it never answers for the fact that this project has wasted billions of dollars and years of service with almost nothing to show for any of those costs.
The lawsuit says that the funding was pulled shortly after California joined 15 other states in suing the Trump administration to invalidate the border emergency declaration made by the president. Trump tweeted shortly after the suit that California is “the state that has wasted billions of dollars on their out of control Fast Train, with no hope of completion.” It was after this tweet that the funding was officially pulled.
This sequence of events doesn’t exactly prove California’s point since Trump, along with many others, have been longtime critics of the project.
This complaint from California is a complete waste of time, but it’s only a fraction of the waste that is their doomed high-speed rail project. Here’s hoping the money goes somewhere that actually matters.
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