President Donald Trump escalated a feud with California on Wednesday by demanding that the U.S. state repay $3.5 billion from a failed high-speed rail project that was to have linked Los Angeles (LA) and San Francisco.
Furthermore, a total of 16 USA states sued Trump as well as top members of his administration, arguing that the president's emergency declaration would cause them to lose millions of dollars in federal funding.
Despite the fact that Trump had previously declared support for high-speed rail (because countries like China have it), he mocked the California bullet train on Twitter and pointed out he's asking for far less for his border wall.
The lawsuit, which California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced on Friday, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California Monday evening.
Newsom, though, tweeted back, "This is CA's money, allocated by Congress for this project".
In a tweet on Wednesday, Mr Trump again lambasted the state over the project, saying: "Send the Federal Government back the Billions of Dollars WASTED!"
"The failed Fast Train project in California, where the cost overruns are becoming world record setting, is hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed Wall!"
The agreement does not require the California High-Speed Rail Authority to build trains for the track.
Newsom said he planned to refocus the high-speed rail project to link Merced and Bakersfield, a Central California route that by vehicle can take up to three hours. It is not clear how the administration can force California to return the $2.5 billion it has already spent, although the FRA lettter says the agency "is exploring all available legal options". Jerry Brown. The lawsuit is California's 46th against the Trump administration. "We're building high-speed rail, connecting the Central Valley and beyond". If the funds are lost or tied up in a long legal battle, the state would probably have to either make up the money elsewhere or further curtail the project. Because they are no longer able to claim more than $10,000 under the SALT deduction, it made more financial sense for California's rich to hold onto their money and earn interest until the April 15 filing deadline rather than paying the tax during 2018, as usual.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, vowed to fight to keep the money, alleging that the move by the federal government was retaliation for the lawsuit.
That led Trump to demand the return of all federal money appropriated for the project.
The president also said that, besides allegedly wasting federal money, the state improperly changed the terms under which it received the federal government's funding. Instead it could withhold money from other transportation projects.