Trump Demands California Pay Back Federal Government For Canceled Bullet Train Project

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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President Donald Trump demanded that California pay back the federal government for its abandoned high-speed rail project, in a tweet Wednesday evening.

“California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a ‘green’ disaster!”

Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom responded to Trump’s tweet Wednesday evening.

“Fake news,” Newsom wrote on Twitter. “We’re building high-speed rail, connecting the Central Valley and beyond. This is [California’s] money, allocated by Congress for this project. We’re not giving it back. The train is leaving the station — better get on board! (Also, desperately searching for some wall $$??)”

Newsom announced Tuesday he was abandoning the high-speed rail project that sought to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco. (RELATED: California’s Plan To Finish 119 Miles Of High-Speed Rail To Cost $89 Billion Per Mile — Four Times More Than Trump’s Border Wall)

“Let’s level about the high-speed rail,” Newsom said during his “State of the State” address. “Let’s be real, the current project as planned would cost too much and, respectfully, take too long. Right now, there simply isn’t a path to get from Sacramento to San Diego, let alone from San Francisco to L.A. I wish there were.”

The governor’s office appeared to partially walk back the announcement Wednesday.

Gavin Newsom (L) is sworn in as governor of California by California Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye (R) as Newsom's wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom (C), watches on January 7, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

Gavin Newsom (L) is sworn in as governor of California by California Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye (R) as Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom (C), watches on Jan. 7, 2019 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

The multi-billion dollar project is not dead, Jesse Melgar, a spokesman in Newsom’s office, told The Daily Caller News Foundation Wednesday.

“We have to be realistic about the project — that means refocus and reprioritize to get a finished section from Bakersfield to Merced,” Melgar said, adding that the governor intends on “completing the bookend projects and finishing the environmental review for the San Francisco to Los Angeles leg.”

Former California state Assemblyman Chuck Devore appeared on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Wednesday to discuss the fate of the high-speed rail project. (WATCH: Former Assemblyman Says Trump Should Demand California Pay Back Wasted Rail Funds)

“The federal government has put $3.5 billion into it,” Devore said. “And now they are in material breach of their agreement with the federal government. I think the federal government should ask for that money back and use it to build the wall.”

Projected costs for the full train project had grown from $33 billion to $77 billion, leading to Newsom’s announcement Tuesday.

Follow Evie on Twitter @eviefordham.

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