SACRAMENTO (AP) — Federal transportation authorities have signed an updated grant agreement with California reflecting the delayed timeline for building the state’s $64 billion high-speed rail project.
The board that oversees high-speed rail approved a new business plan last month that calls for trains to run between the Central Valley and San Jose starting in 2025. That’s three years later and 50 miles shorter than the original plan calling for trains to head to the San Fernando Valley in Southern California.
The updated agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration released Wednesday covers $2.5 billion in federal matching funds for the project.
The move was slammed by Congressman Jeff Denham, R-Turlock,
“Every time the voters read the news, the project has changed,” Denham said. “The Obama Administration has just written a blank check and is trying to skirt federal law with so-called stimulus funding. The hard-working American taxpayer has a right to know where their money is being spent and the Administration has failed to provide oversight of a flawed project. Congressional hearings will be coming soon.”
Denham noted the Obama administration approved, without Congressional notification, another change to its grant agreement with the California High Speed Rail Authority. The initial construction segment of the project was scheduled for completion in 2018, but now will not be done until the end of 2022, according to a contract revision. There have been multiple revisions to the contract agreement since being funded by the Obama Administration’s so-called stimulus funding package for economic recovery during the great recession. To date, no tracks have been laid for this flawed project.
Rail authority spokeswoman Lisa Marie Alley says the state still faces a deadline to spend the federal money by 2017.