May 22 (UPI) — California sued the Trump administration Tuesday over its decision to pull nearly $1 billion in federal funding for a high-speed rail project.
The lawsuit filed in federal court in San Francisco seeks to block the Federal Rail Administration from withdrawing $929 million in funding for a bullet train, originally planned to be built between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
In the suit, California claims the government’s decision to pull the funds was arbitrary and capricious and will threaten to “wreak significant economic damage on the Central Valley and the state.”
Additionally, the suit states that the FRA’s decision to terminate the deal was “a sharp departure from ordinary agency practice” and “was precipitated by President Trump’s overt hostility to California, its challenge to his border wall initiatives and what he called the ‘green disaster’ high-speed rail project.
The suit contends that the FRA withdrew the funds in retaliation for California joining a lawsuit along with 15 other states challenging President Donald Trump’s declaration of emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, seeking funding for an expanded physical barrier in February.
A day after California joined the border wall suit, the FRA notified the state of its plans to cancel the grant and demanded it return $2.5 billion in federal money it had already received, the suit filed Tuesday noted.
Trump also sent a tweet on the same day describing the train as “hundreds of times more expensive than the desperately needed wall!”
The FRA made the decision to withdraw the funding agreement, which was reached under former President Barack Obama in 2010, stating California “repeatedly failed” to comply with the terms and hadn’t made “reasonable progress.”
In addition to blocking the withdrawal, California will request a temporary restraining order blocking the FRA from diverting grant money from other projects.