Local lawmakers, officials say they're not surprised after govt derails California's bullet train plan

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The future of California's bullet train, derailed.

The Federal Government is canceling nearly 1 billion dollars in California High-Speed Rail funding, weeks after the authority requested more money for the project.

RELATED: Government terminates $928 million contract with high-speed rail

"We were warned about this. The auditor warned California that they ran a high risk of losing federal money," said Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno. "We now have a city ripped up from one end to another. A lot of concrete, but not much to show for it but billions of dollars."

In a statement, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) said the High-Speed Rail Authority has failed to comply with the terms of the contract and has failed to make reasonable progress on the project.

The FRA went on to say that California has 'abandoned' its original plan of a high-speed rail service connecting San Francisco and Los Angeles, which was essential to its applications for the FRA grant.

Former Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea said the federal government's decision doesn't come as a surprise.

"With Mr. Trump wanting money for other projects, this was going to come. I think from a California standpoint, the plan to build HSR has not changed. The money to build the first section is in place."

The nearly billion dollars is a critical piece of the project's funding plan, and state rail officials weren't expecting to access the funds until 2021.

Patterson is convinced the state won't be able to afford the new plan for the rail and even suspects corruption.

"There's going to be some serious consequences to some of the contractors and consultants who have pushed this money out, in order to get paid," he said.
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