Train in vain? Trump, Newsom spar over California high-speed rail funding

A day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom severely scaled back plans for a high-speed train, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he wanted the project’s federal funds returned — to which Newsom responded: No way.

On Tuesday, Newsom announced during his first state of the state address that soaring costs will force the state to focus on building only a 120-mile stretch of high-speed rail in the state’s Central Valley, from Merced to Bakersfield, abandoning plans to connect the state’s population hubs of San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego.

Newsom kept open the possibility of eventually extending the line to the state’s largest urban areas in the future.

Trump on Wednesday night tweeted, wrongly, that California had canceled the project, and said the state had “wasted many billions of dollars” in federal funding. “We want that money back now,” he said.

Newsom quickly responded with a tweet of his own, using one of Trump’s favorite terms: “Fake news,” he said. “We’re building high-speed rail, connecting the Central Valley and beyond. This is CA’s money, allocated by Congress for this project. We’re not giving it back.”

The friction between the two is no surprise. Newsom has vowed that California — itself the world’s fifth-largest economy — will be a leader of the so-called “resistance,” calling Trump’s policies “fundamentally at odds with California values.”

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