California’s House Republicans have asked the Trump administration to block a pending federal grant for the state’s high-speed rail project until an audit of the project’s finances is completed.
The letter, signed by all 14 members of the state’s GOP delegation, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, was sent to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. It cites cost increases, reductions in the project’s scope and its failure to attract private financing.
The letter notes that a risk analysis by the Federal Railroad Administration projected a potential $3.5 billion increase in cost in the first segment of the project from Merced to Shafter. The analysis was made public last month by the Los Angeles Times.
The letter asks Chao to stop approval of a $650 million grant that the Transportation Department could make as early as next week as part of an effort to install an electrical system that the bullet train would eventually use from San Jose to San Francisco and that the Caltrain commuter rail system would use as well.
The congressional letter, which was obtained by the Times, says “providing additional funding at this time to the authority would be an irresponsible use of taxpayers dollars. In light of the new revelations from the confidential FRA report, we request no further monies be granted to the (California High-Speed Rail) Authority or the state of California for high-speed rail until a full and complete audit of the project and its finances can be conducted and those finding be presented to the public.”