Salem Radio Network News Sunday, June 20, 2021


Biden administration restores $929 million for California high speed rail

By Derek Francis and Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration and California on Thursday reached a settlement to restore a $929 million grant agreement that former president Donald Trump tried to revoke.

The parties, which also include the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the U.S. Transport Department’s Federal Railroad Administration, agreed to restore the grant within three days, according to the settlement agreement

Talks began in March, months after Biden became president, to settle the suit filed in 2019 after Trump had pulled funding for a high-speed train project in the state hobbled by extensive delays and rising costs.

California’s lawsuit claimed the transportation department lacked legal authority to withhold the $929 million the Obama administration allocated a decade ago but had remained untapped.

On Thursday, a notice of voluntary dismissal by California High-Speed Rail Authority and by the state of California was filed in relation to suit.

“The Biden Administration’s restoration of nearly $1 billion for California’s high-speed rail is great news for our state and our nation,” U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said in a statement reacting to the agreement.

The funding restoration occurs as the Biden administration tries to hammer out an infrastructure spending agreement with lawmakers, a signature legislative push by the president. The latest framework in Congress could total $974 billion over five years.

While Trump ridiculed the California project, Biden strongly supports high-speed rail and has vowed to ensure the United States “has the cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world.”

The system’s cost estimate ranges from $69 billion to $99.8 billion and aims to be completed in the 2030s.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said the funding restoration 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.”

(Reporting by Derek Francis and Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)


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