It’s really a drop in the bucket of the sort of aid given to the state of California, but when $3.5 billion was awarded to the state for the development of a high-speed train corridor, most people assumed that money would be used for that project.
Now that the project has been scaled back considerably and will only consist of a stretch between two minor cities, not the hundreds of miles from San Diego to San Francisco, President Donald Trump wants the money back that the Federal Government provided for the project.
In a tweet Wednesday evening, he declared the debacle a disaster.
“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a ‘green’ disaster!”
During his State of the State speech earlier in the week, California governor Gavin Newsom made it fairly clear that he had no intention of returning the money.
“Let’s be real,” Newsom said in his State of the State address. “The current project, as planned, would cost too much and respectfully take too long. There’s been too little oversight and not enough transparency. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.”…
“Abandoning high-speed rail entirely means we will have wasted billions and billions of dollars with nothing but broken promises, partially filled commitments and lawsuits to show for it,” said the Democratic governor. “And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”
Of course, he isn’t. However, that money is not his. It belongs to the taxpayers of the United States. We want it back if the project is now defunct.