In his State of the State address, California Gov. Gavin Newsome ducked and deked about whether the California high-speed rail project would continue. A lot of people thought that he had outright canceled it. But no — he shrank it but didn’t yank it, because canceling it would kill the golden goose, a federal contract for $928.62 million — plus leave the Golden State open to forced repayment of a couple billion dollars more.
Now the Federal Railroad Administration has wrung the goose’s neck, “de-obligating” the federal government:
After careful consideration, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has terminated Cooperative Agreement No. FR-HSR-0118-12-01-01 (the FY10 Agreement) with the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA), and will deobligate the $928,620,000 in funding under that agreement. The decision follows FRA’s Notice of Intent to Terminate and consideration of the information provided by CHSRA on March 4, 2019. 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. Additionally, California has abandoned its original vision of a high-speed passenger rail service connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, which was essential to its applications for FRA grant funding. FRA continues to consider all options regarding the return of $2.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds awarded to CHSRA.
Watch for Gov. Newsome to deploy Attorney General Xavier Becerra to find a friendly court to rule the decision illegal.