Biden administration restores $929 million for California high speed rail By Reuters

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By Derek Francis and Kanishka Singh

(Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration and California on Thursday reached a settlement to restore a $929 million grant agreement that former president Donald Trump tried to revoke.

The parties, which also include the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the U.S. Transport Department’s Federal Railroad Administration, agreed to restore the grant within three days, according to the settlement agreement https://hsr.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/California-v.-DOT-Settlement-Agreement-Final-May-26.pdf.

Talks began in March, months after Biden became president, to settle the suit filed in 2019 after Trump had pulled funding for a high-speed train project in the state hobbled by extensive delays and rising costs.

California’s lawsuit claimed the transportation department lacked legal authority to withhold the $929 million the Obama administration allocated a decade ago but had remained untapped.

On Thursday, a notice of voluntary dismissal by California High-Speed Rail Authority and by the state of California was filed in relation to suit.

“The Biden Administration’s restoration of nearly $1 billion for California’s high-speed rail is great news for our state and our nation,” U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, said in a statement https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/61021-4 reacting to the agreement.

The funding restoration occurs as the Biden administration tries to hammer out an infrastructure spending agreement with lawmakers, a signature legislative push by the president. The latest framework in Congress could total $974 billion over five years.

While Trump ridiculed the California project, Biden strongly supports high-speed rail and has vowed to ensure the United States “has the cleanest, safest, and fastest rail system in the world.”

The system’s cost estimate ranges from $69 billion to $99.8 billion and aims to be completed in the 2030s.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/06/10/governor-newsom-statement-on-federal-funding-agreement-for-california-high-speed-rail-project the funding restoration 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.”

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