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Trump administration to cancel $929 million in California high-speed rail funds

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The U.S. Transportation Department said on Tuesday it will cancel $929 million in federal funds awarded by the Obama administration for a California high-speed rail project and is “actively exploring every legal option” to seek the return of $2.5 billion the state has already received.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said last week the state will dramatically scale back a planned $77.3 billion high-speed rail project that has faced cost hikes, delays and management concerns, but will finish a smaller section of the line.

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The Transportation Department’s Federal Railroad Administration said in a letter it wanted to halt funding because the state had “failed to make reasonable progress.” It cited Newsom’s announcement to scale back the project.

Newsom, in a statement, linked the Trump administration action to California leading 15 other states in challenging what he called “the President’s farcical ‘national emergency,’” to obtain funds for building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“This is California’s money, and we are going to fight for it,” Newsom said of the rail funds.

A coalition of 16 U.S. states sued Trump and top members of his administration on Monday, saying the emergency declaration would cause them to lose millions of dollars in federal funding for national guard units dealing with counter-drug activities and that the redirection of funds from authorized military construction projects would damage their economies.

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California planned to build a 520-mile (826.8 km) system in the first phase that would allow trains to travel at speeds up to 220 miles per hour (354 kph) in the traffic-choked state from Los Angeles to San Francisco and begin full operations by 2033.

The Obama administration awarded the state a total of $3.5 billion in 2010 and California voters in 2008 approved nearly $10 billion in bond proceeds.

California can challenge the government’s action.

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Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Dan Grebler and Susan Thomas


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Former FBI agent explains why Trump just opened himself to more legal problems

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Former FBI agent Asha Rangappa explained that the recent revelations that President Donald Trump made a promise to a foreign leader that made an intelligence official uncomfortable enough to declare themselves a whistleblower.

Rangapp explained that the President has a fairly wide latitude to conduct foreign affairs as he sees fit. But "when it comes to the 'outside world,' the President represents the sovereign: He is basically the voice of the United States and can negotiate with world leaders on its behalf."

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Canada’s Trudeau admits to racist ‘brownface’ makeup in high school Halloween costume

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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Wednesday for wearing brownface makeup to a party 18 years ago, as he scrambled to get on top of a fresh blow to a re-election campaign dogged by controversy.

Time magazine published the photograph one week into a federal election campaign with Trudeau's Liberal Party in a tight contest against the Conservatives led by Andrew Scheer.

Trudeau, 47, whose party won a landslide victory in 2015, has already been under attack for an ethics lapse and other controversies.

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A veteran teacher explains why Trump is incapable of learning

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While dyslexia has been mentioned now and then as one of the reasons Donald Trump is so ignorant of what it takes to govern in a free society, I want to explore it as foundational to his inability to learn and grow while in office—and also as a way to link disparate troubling elements in his makeup.

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