President Donald Trump is taking back nearly $1 billion from California after another wasteful Obama-era project turned out to be a total dud.
According to Stars and Stripes, the Trump administration announced on Thursday that it’s pulling more than $900 million in federal funds from California’s failed high-speed rail project.
The U.S. Department of Transportation said California officials “failed to make reasonable progress” and had not met federal requirements for the project.
DOT is also “actively exploring every legal option” to recover the other $2.5 billion granted by the federal government to California for the project.
In addition to taking back the $929 million, the Trump administration also said it “continues to consider all options regarding the return of $2.5 billion” in stimulus funds.
California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom was not happy about the move and called the Trump administration’s final decision an “illegal and a direct assault on California.”
“Just as we have seen from the Trump Administration’s attacks on our clean air standards, our immigrant communities and in countless other areas, the Trump Administration is trying to exact political retribution on our state. This is California’s money, appropriated by Congress, and we will vigorously defend it in court.”
During his State of the Union address earlier this month, Newsom announced that he was canceling the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles high-speed rail project, arguing that it “would cost too much and, respectfully, would take too long” to complete.
Newsom told state legislators that he wanted to use a portion of the money, which was a piece of a grant from former President Barack Obama as part of the 2009 stimulus, to complete part of a bullet train under construction in the Central Valley.
“I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump,” Newsom told state legislatures.
Now that the Trump administration is taking back around $3.5 billion ($929 million + $2.5 billion in stimulus funds), what will that money be used on?
Earlier this year, Trump revealed that he had other ideas for the money than to let California waste it on a railway system.
The president wants to use the money towards the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars. They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a “green” disaster!” Trump said back in February.
The president is looking to use the $3.5 billion dollars toward building another major chunk of the wall along the southern border between the United States and Mexico.
Trump is trying to get the $3.5 billion back from California to put a massive down payment on the wall.