Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, announced Thursday that the government of Biden and the state of California have reached an agreement to restore a nearly $ 1 billion grant revoked by President Donald Trump, calling the project a ‘disaster’. called.
The U.S. Department of Transportation and officials in California on Thursday finalized settlement negotiations to restore the money for the train, which the Trump administration recalled in 2019, Newsom said in a statement.
“The restoration of nearly $ 929 million in grant funding to California’s High-Speed Rail project will continue to spur job creation, advance the project and move the state one step closer to trains in California as soon as possible. to drive, “Newsom said.
California voters approved nearly $ 10 billion in mortgages in 2008 to build a high-speed line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, which was supposed to run by 2020. But the project was plagued by cost overruns and delays. Officials hope that by 2029, trains will run on a segment through the central valley agricultural area.
Critics have mocked the segment as a ‘train to nowhere’, while advocates say it is a necessary test and forerunner to connect more populated areas.
Republican candidate for governor of California Caitlyn Jenner said Thursday she will take the $ 929 million grant and spend it on finishing Trump’s border wall.
“Right now we are spending billions on an express train to nowhere,” she said. told KABC in an interview. ‘Take some of the money, go down to the border wall and end up completely on state land. Complete the wall completely. We need protection. ”
Her remarks come when U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that they arrested 180,034 individuals entering the United States illegally in May, the highest monthly score in 21 years, sparking calls to tighten border security.
The business plan of the project provides the approval of the environment for the 500 km between Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2023. The completion of the complete line depends on financing and other unknowns. Newsom last month unveiled a budget proposal that includes $ 4.2 billion for the project, including the 2008 budget approved by voters.
In February 2019, Newsom announced an abridged version of the $ 77 billion high-speed project, saying the current plan “would cost too much and take too long,” asking Trump to give California the $ 3.5 billion he needed. received by the federal government. government for the project.
“California has been forced to cancel the massive railroad project after spending and wasting billions of dollars,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “They owe the federal government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. The whole project is a ‘green’ disaster! ”
Later, the Trump administration withdrew the $ 929 million in outstanding federal funding from the beleagured train project. In a letter (pdf), the U.S. Department of Transportation explained its decision, saying California officials “could not make reasonable progress” and did not keep their share of the funding agreement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.