Feds to restore $1B in California bullet train funding pulled by Trump in 2019

California
Construction workers in the Frenso Trench build a portion of the high-speed railway line on May 8, 2019. (FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images)

Construction workers in the Frenso Trench build a portion of the high-speed railway line on May 8, 2019. (FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP / Getty Images)

The federal government has reached an agreement to restore nearly $1 billion in funding for California’s troubled bullet train, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday night.

The U.S. Department of Transportation finalized settlement negotiations to restore the money for the high-speed rail project that was pulled by the Trump administration in 2019, Newsom said.

Restoring $929 million in grant funding “will continue to spur job creation, advance the project and move the state one step closer to getting trains running in California as soon as possible,” Newsom said in a statement.

Voters in 2008 approved nearly $10 billion in bond money to build a high-speed rail line connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco, to be up and running by 2020. In the years since, the project has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. Now officials hope to have trains running on a segment through the Central Valley by 2029 — more than 20 years after voters first backed the project.

Critics have derided the Central Valley segment as a “train to nowhere,” but supporters say it’s a necessary test and precursor to linking more populated areas.

The project’s business plan anticipates environmental approval for the 500 miles between Los Angeles and San Francisco by 2023, but completion of the full line depends on funding and other unknowns.

Last month, Newsom unveiled a budget proposal that includes $4.2 billion for the project, including bond money approved by voters in 2008.

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