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Local representatives react to high-speed rail termination announcement

Posted: 3:59 PM, Feb 19, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-19 19:55:13-05
high speed rail

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN-TV) — The Trump administration has sent a notice to California High-Speed Rail Authority announcing the termination of a $929 million federal grant intended for the project, effective March 5.

The U.S. Department of Transportation wrote they are "actively exploring every legal option" to get back the $2.5 billion in federal grant funds already given to the state.

Today, Congressman Kevin McCarthy released a statement on the announcement.

“At every turn, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has mismanaged and misled Californians on the viability of the project. Its budget has ballooned by the billions, projected ridership numbers have proven exaggerated, and the private investment that was promised never materialized. And throughout it all, the Authority has gone to great lengths to keep these facts from California and American taxpayers. Just last week, Governor Newsom rightfully acknowledged the failure, saying: ‘ultimately, the current project, as planned, would cost too much and take too long.’
“It is time is to move on from the broken high-speed rail project and redirect our efforts to infrastructure projects that work for Californians. I applaud Secretary Chao and Administrator Batory for their prudent decision protecting hardworking American taxpayers.”

Assemblyman Vince Fong also released a statement in response .

“The egregious mismanagement of the High Speed Rail project has been well-documented. The Governor acknowledged last week that the High Speed Rail project is over-budget, lacks transparency and cannot be completed as originally told to voters in 2008. Continuing to throw hard-earned tax dollars at a structurally flawed project is fiscally irresponsible and I believe we need to scrap this project entirely. The funds should be re-directed to Central Valley infrastructure projects that will benefit the entire state.”

The Trump administration argues California hasn't provided required matching dollars and can't complete work by a 2022 deadline.

The notice comes a week after Governor Gavin Newsom's State of the State address where he announced future construction would only focus on the section between Merced and Bakersfield.

President Trump tweeted following the Governor's address that the American people "wanted their money back."