U.S. Transportation Department Derails California High-Speed Rail Project, Cancels $929 Million In Funds

Yesterday, the U.S. Transportation Department released a statement saying that it would cancel $929 million in federal funds supplied by the Obama administration for a high-speed railway project in California.

The U.S. agency is currently “exploring every legal option” in order to get a return on the $2.5 billion already received by the state, as reported by Reuters. The initial goal was to complete the $77.3 billion 520-mile (826.8 km) project by the year 2033.

This railway system would have ultimately allowed trains to travel at speeds of up to 220 mph (354 km/h), connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco.

According to California Governor Gavin Newsom, his state will have to scale the project back dramatically, although a smaller section of the line will still be completed.

While the Transportation Department’s Federal Railroad Administration claims it wanted to halt funding not only because of a general lack of progress, but also due to the governor’s motion to scale things back, Newsom went on to link the Trump administration’s decision to California leading 15 other states in challenging what he considers to be “the President’s farcical ‘national emergency'”.

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

Furthermore, a total of 16 U.S. 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.

A scanned copy of the notice of intent to terminate funding on the project can be viewed here.

more photos...

Photos: California High-Speed Rail Authority / Facebook

  • Matthijs
    • Mr. EP9

      I always did enjoy those rail videos from the cockpit. The scenery was phenomenal both in summer and winter.

  • The future is rail. Personal transportation will be scaled back. We only have to look at cities such as Amsterdam to see what the future for cities will be like.

    • willhaven

      Considering that California alone is 10 times the size of the Netherlands and has twice the population, I doubt that rail is the future for the US. However nice it would be, cars aren’t going anywhere.

      • mihsf

        Weird, France has about 50% more inhabitants than California, in an about 30% larger territory, and France has one of the largest high-speed train network in the world.
        Not counting the fact that most of the Californian population is concentrated along the west coast.

        • willhaven

          So France is basically the size of one US state. What should we do about the other 49 states?

          • mihsf

            So what? You don’t understand.
            Not a single sane person ever said a high-speed train network should be built across the US.
            It doesn’t mean it can’t work at a state level. North East Corridor, Florida, Vancouver Seattle, etc.

          • willhaven

            But this article is about the DoT relinquishing funds for a state-level project. In this case, it’s obvious that the states cannot allocate the funds required to build such a project without federal funds. Considering the fact that California and France’s GDP are almost identical, California should be able to fund such a project on its own, but after the $70+ billion spent, California has almost nothing practical to show for it. Why continue to spend bad money after bad if the experiment has failed?

          • Dude

            The CA project was rightfully canceled because of terrible management but it is one of the best markets for a new rail line. It just has to be done right. The Florida project is already in use and is working well. The NEC and Stl-Chicago lines are profitable and are getting speed upgrades.

        • BGM

          I don’t know about France but I know about Renfe in Spain. Their rail network is deep debt, not even able to pay for its own day to day operational costs, much less for maintenance and upgrades. So it’s heavily subsidized by taxpayers because otherwise Renfe would have to charge 3 times the price of a plane ticket to go from Madrid to Barcelona.

          • mihsf

            I believe the issue with Renfe is that they – or the government – wanted the largest high-speed train network. Spain is smaller than France yet has the largest European network. High-speed trains need to connect large cities to be profitable. It is not the case on many Spanish lines.

    • ChrisInIL

      How truly myopic of you, thinking you can apply your own situation and understanding and experience onto so many others who have completely different situations, understanding, and experiences.

    • flyfish

      The future is autonomously flown personal or shared drones. Anything else does not fix our current infrastructure problems, funding and building them. No new infrastructure is required to support drones, every freeway or road can have multiple lanes stacked on top of each other, infinite no-cost expansion.

      • Have you ever heard the noise generated from a drone? People will be up in arms with all that non-stop buzzing noise 24/7. Also, where will be all the landing strips be placed for all these drones? What happens when all these things start falling out of the sky? Stupid is, as stupid does. Human extinction is at hand, and rightfully so.

        • Dude

          Human extinction is not at hand and you have some serious misconceptions about these things. For many of the designs take off and landing are completely vertical; no strips needed. And there are already solutions that make dronew quiter. Larger higher quality motors make less noise and active noise cancelation can be used during take off and landing. The vehicles that Uber is working on (with billions in funding btw) are closer to planes than you might think. And we generally don’t worry about planes falling out of the sky

    • BGM

      A place where the degeneracy of legalized drugs and prostitution meet the backwards character of sharia and jihad?

      • Six Thousand Times

        Mushroom head, is that you? 😉 Need a Big Mac?

  • Paul Webster

    If the funds spent for this project were totally sourced from U.S. companies, then I oppose the Administrations decision. If not then I support the decision. Building a transportation infrastructure for a country this big with these resources should be built from within.

  • mihsf

    They don’t know what they are missing.


  • Craiggger

    where are the cars?/

  • Clint Keener

    But it doesn’t connect LA to SF, it connects Bakersfield to Merced.


  • Paul Webster

    Personally, while high speed rail sounds nice, going 220mph on rails is not. Anything after about 125mph and the scenery is just a blur. Not a pleasant experience for the passenger. I’m all in for enjoying the journey, building state of the art tracks, crossings and the like, but I’ll be damned if I can’t enjoy the ride visually;

    • You can enjoy even the Shanghai Maglev going at 432kph. This train is supposed to “derail” people from using their car or take an airplane from LA to SF, so it needs to be fast.

    • mihsf

      You have probably not been in a high-speed train. The scenery is not blurred at all at 320 km/h. You are just passing it fast. Furthermore, that scenery is always better than the scenery you get by plane. In a train, you have large windows and natural light.

    • it is nice… It’s working well in France, Europe after, Japan and now China. And yes if you try to look at a tree next to the rails, it’s going to be ugly, but the mountains are still far away.

    • Matthew Daraei

      A scenery exactly in front of a high speed train would be blurred, but not the one kilometers away. Also, who wants to see a scenery when he has a meeting to be done in couple of hours, in other side of a country or state?

    • Six Thousand Times

      This is incorrect. I’ve ridden the TGV across France and it’s wonderful. Like flying on the ground.

  • USA is doomed. 2033 for a project that should have been done decades ago? Perhaps it’s time to move to Europe / Asia for the ones that would like to live in a modern society that’s not dependent on cars…

    • BGM

      I like to be dependent on my car. It gives me the freedom to move around without having to follow anyone’s time tables. Cars = freedom, which is why so many are interested in killing them.

      • Cars as freedom? Are you living in the 19th century? What next, you don’t fly because you share the space with others, you are only willing to fly a private airplane? Efficient public transportation (which does not exist in the USA) gets you quicker from A to B and let’s you choose your own times. Ever been to Singapore?

  • Mr. EP9

    Well, I guess California will just have to get the funding from somewhere else.

    • Super Rob

      Diane Feinstein can ask the Chinese.

  • Karl

    Typical U.S missing the train again,wouldn’t be surprised if the airline lobby had a hand in this lousy development.

    • BGM

      Sure, let’s blame the airlines and not California Democrats for wasting billions and enriching their crooked friends in the process. I hate airlines as much as the next guy but don’t ascribe to malice what you can ascribe to stupidity AND greed.

  • Emoto

    Poor job reporting the story. California did such a lousy job of running the project that they’ve gotten almost nothing done and spent many times more than planned. Newsom announced that they were giving up on the project goals and only doing a tiny bit. California decided unilaterally that they could just go ahead and keep all of the grant money and not spend it as agreed. In short, they are in breach of contract and the feds are under no obligation to give them any more money for that grant, and they may try to get some of the $ back that CA was already given.

    • Dude

      I bet a documentary on the management of that project would be very interesting. I’ve been waiting for the US to embrace rail travel for decades but this was the biggest failure of an infrastructure project I’ve ever seen.


    • Six Thousand Times

      Bringing up the mushroom head? Just awful! 🙂

  • benT

    The only railroad the US understands is the one that sends a president to assassination, vilification, obfuscation.

  • FunctionForm

    This isn’t true. California’s new Governor canceled the project because it is too expensive and the State can’t afford it. When a State cancels a project that includes Federal matching funds, the Feds are of course going to take the money back. The money belongs to the American people, not the government of California.

  • SteersUright


  • Six Thousand Times

    And yet the stable genius still wants $25bn for his ridiculous wall. Which everyone (except for said stable genius and his slack-jawed supplicants) knows won’t work.

  • Thunderbolt

    When it comes to Federal or State funding, it’s always wasteful spending, and it mostly gets no where fast.
    If it was a private company in charge, i.e. Amazon, Ebay or Apple, they could have finished this for 1/4 of the price and 1/3 of the time.

  • john1168

    I agree with you 100% that the US should have high speed (maglev) rail lines. As for the supersonic airliners flying across the country, they create a shockwave while at supersonic speeds and at cruise altitudes, that create a VERY loud sonic boom that is very annoying to people on the ground and in some cases (if the plane is low enough) can break windows. It is this reason that airplanes are prohibited from exceeding the sound barrier over land, unless they are military planes over certain military operations or restricted areas. When the Concorde was flying, it could only go faster than Mach 1 over the ocean. In addition, supersonic airplanes are SUPER FREAKIN’ expensive to build, operate and maintain. However, there are companies working on supersonic airplanes that don’t create the loud sonic boom or at least reduce their intensity.

  • Knotmyrealname

    Without even reading the story, you can tell it’s only an artists impression because everyone is so thin!!!

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