FRA officially cancels nearly $1B for California high-speed rail funding

California believes it would still have enough money to complete the expanded Central Valley segment of its high-speed rail project

May 17, 2019
high-speed rail project California

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) announced this week that the agency is officially terminating its agreement with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) and is canceling the nearly $1 billion in funding for the state's high-speed rail project.

Back in February of this year, the FRA issued a notice of intent to terminate the agreement with CHSRA. "FRA finds that CHSRA has repeatedly failed to comply with the terms of the FY10 Agreement and has failed to make reasonable progress on the Project," a statement from the federal agency said.

The statement from the FRA also mentions California's move to abandon its original vision of high-speed rail service connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, which the FRA says was essential to the project's applications to receive federal grant funding. The administration also is considering all options regarding the return of $2.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds awarded to CHSRA.

The “action is illegal and a direct assault on California,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in an emailed statement, reports AP. “This is California’s money, appropriated by Congress, and we will vigorously defend it in court.”

The high-speed rail project, now estimated to be around $77 billion, has been significantly scaled back by the state due to cost hikes and delays.

Gov. Newsom has directed the CHSRA to focus on getting trains running in the Central Valley. According to NPR, even with the FRA cancelling the $929 million in funding for the project, the CHSRA believes it would still have enough money to complete the expanded Central Valley segment.

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Source: Federal Railroad Administration / Associated Press / NPR

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