I recently gave Newsom some hate in his State of the State speech for giving up on high-speed rail except for a useless corridor through the poorer regions of California’s Central Valley. Turns out that the reason for it is there’s different definitions of “the money is spent”.
Trump to Use ‘Nuclear Option’ to Recover $2.5 Bn More from California’s Failed High-Speed Rail Project
By Joel B. Pollack, 22 February 2019
The Trump administration announced this week that it was canceling nearly $1 billion in grant money for California’s now-defunct high-speed rail project — and President Donald Trump is coming for the other $2.5 billion.
The $2.5 billion has already been spent — but California has failed to deliver the high-speed rail (on time, or at all) as promised.
Therefore, the Trump administration argues, the state has to repay federal taxpayers.
Yeah, sure, but everybody’s been talking like the $3.5b was already spent? Quoting Newsom in his State of the State speech, “And by the way, I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.” So, his wording turned to to be deceptive. Why is nobody surprised?
The Los Angeles Times quoted Stanford law professor David Freeman Engstrom, a Stanford law professor, describing Trump’s effort as a “nuclear option.”
The practice of recovering money after a breach of contract, while common in the private sector, was virtually unheard of in government, he explained.
One supposes that, for government, balancing the budget and protecting the innocent from the guilty would be “nuclear options”. Engstrom has a typical male feminist face, not to mention tenure at a celebrity university, so it’s understandable why he would consider competent leadership and fiscal responsibility to be threatening concepts:
On Tuesday, the Federal Railroad Administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation wrote to California’s High-Speed Rail Authority, informing it that it had breached the terms of its contract with the federal government and that $928,620,000 would therefore no longer be available to the project.
Newsom objected, again: “This is California’s money.” He also claimed Trump was taking revenge for California’s leading role in filing a federal lawsuit against Trump’s national emergency declaration to build the “wall.”
I’m more inclined to think of it as funding the wall rather than retaliation for prohibiting a wall. If Trump had actually cared to retaliate for the anti-Wall omnibus bill Congress forced upon him then he would have arrested sitting legislators for treason. Not to change the subject, but I’m eligible for jury duty again. Hint hint, Mister President.
Anyway, Trump could flush that spent-but-not-yet-spent billion dollars down the toilet and it’d be a better use of it than anything Sacramento would have done.
I wonder how long until the pretense of a mini-high speed rail is dropped.