(FiveNation.com)- The Biden administration is reversing a Trump administration decision by restoring funding to a California bullet train project.
Late last week, California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom announced the Transportation Department would be giving almost $929 million for the high-speed rail project in the state. That money will go toward helping workers complete the initial segment of the rail.
If completed, it would become the first high-speed rail system in the country.
In 2019, the Trump administration rescinded funding the federal government had given to the project. Former President Barack Obama issued the funds, but they were never spent.
Voters in California originally approved the rail back in 2008. The referendum approval allowed for $10 billion in bonds to fund the project. It was originally supposed to open in 2020, but that obviously didn’t happen.
The project, which would connect San Francisco to Los Angeles, had large overruns on cost and other construction delays that have stunted its progress.
Many critics have attacked the project for these delays and overruns, but the California governor defended the project, saying it was very important for the state.
“Tonight’s action by the federal government is further proof that California and the Biden-Harris Administration share a common vision — clean, electrified transportation that will serve generations to come. Restoring nearly $929 million in grant funding back to California’s High-Speed Rail project will continue to spur job creation, advance the project and move the state one step closer to getting trains running in California as soon as possible.”
The funds are being restored to California under a legal settlement, according to Reuters.
President Joe Biden has consistently thrown his support behind renewable energy and electric vehicles, and supports the high-speed rail project in California. He has consistently said he wants to make sure the U.S. “has the cleanest, safest and fastest rail system in the world.”
In fact, in recent months, Biden has shown support for high-speed rail systems throughout the country, that could eventually travel almost as fast as airplanes.
Last week, Amit Bose, the deputy administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, said the settlement agreement followed “intensive negotiations between the parties and reflects the federal government’s ongoing partnership in the development of high-speed rail.”
California had actually sued the federal government over the withholding of the funds. The state claimed the Transportation Department didn’t have the authority to withhold the funding, just because the money hadn’t been used yet.
The total project is expected to cost at least $69 billion, but could climb to as much as almost $100 billion. The project is now supposed to be completed sometime in the next decade.
Some officials in California are warning the state of the dangers of not getting the project up and running this time around. Fiona Ma, the treasurer of the state, wrote in a letter recently:
“To be clear, a repeat effort that spends billions without getting any new lines operational after another decade will be the death of high-speed rail in America. There is simply no way the public will continue to support such an agenda without seeing tangible results.”